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Integration, Informalization, and Income Gaps in Developing Countries: Some General Equilibrium Explorations in Light of Accumulating Evidence

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  • Arslan Razmi

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

Recent post-liberalization decades have seen increasing gaps between wages and profit in- come, rising skill premia, and disappointing formal sector employment growth in many develop- ing countries. This paper presents an attempt to reconcile some of these developments with the help of modified versions of simple standard trade theory factor endowment models. Measures undertaken to enhance public sector efficiency and attract investment in the export sector can create a conflict of interest between the owners of capital and labor, and increase the rental- wage and skill-unskilled wage gaps, contra the predictions of the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson model. Moreover, increasing inequality can exist side-by-side with increasing informalization of the economy. The greater unskilled labor intensity of the informal sector, factor market rigidities in the formal sector, and the sector specificity of some factors crucially influence the outcomes of policy experiments. Even within a simple framework that assumes full employment of resources, large segments of labor may have good reason to fear the consequences of reform. JEL Categories: F16, O17, F11

Suggested Citation

  • Arslan Razmi, 2007. "Integration, Informalization, and Income Gaps in Developing Countries: Some General Equilibrium Explorations in Light of Accumulating Evidence," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2007-06, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2007-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jorge Saba Arbache & Andy Dickerson & Francis Green, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation and Wages in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 73-96, February.
    2. Marjit, Sugata, 2003. "Economic reform and informal wage--a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 371-378, October.
    3. World Bank, 2007. "Global Economic Prospects 2007 : Managing the Next Wave of Globalization," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7157.
    4. Blunch, Niels-Hugo & Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2001. "The informal sector revisited : a synthesis across space and time," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 23308, The World Bank.
    5. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
    6. Utsav Kumar & Prachi Mishra, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality: Evidence from India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 291-311, May.
    7. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
    8. Donald R. Davis, 1996. "Trade Liberalization and Income Distribution," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1769, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    9. Beyer, Harald & Rojas, Patricio & Vergara, Rodrigo, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 103-123, June.
    10. Harrison, Ann, 2005. "Has Globalization Eroded Labor’s Share? Some Cross-Country Evidence," MPRA Paper 39649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    12. Galiani, Sebastian & Sanguinetti, Pablo, 2003. "The impact of trade liberalization on wage inequality: evidence from Argentina," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 497-513, December.
    13. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    14. repec:ilo:ilowps:354172 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Specific factors model; Ricardo-Viner model; Heckscher-Ohlin model; informaliza- tion; international production networks; elasticity of factor substitution; nominal wage rigidity; income inequality; skill premium.;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade

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