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Trade, Urban Systems, and Labor Markets


  • Abdel-Rahman, Hesham M.

    (University of New Orleans)


This paper investigates the impacts of free trade on the structure of urban systems, skill distribution, and income disparities. The paper proposes a model that integrates international trade theory and the theory of urban system. This is done in a two sector, spatial general equilibrium model of a North-South trade. Each country is populated with a continuum of unskilled workers with heterogeneous potential ability. Through differential training costs, workers with different potential ability can achieve the same productivity. Workers can acquire a skill by investing in training. Thus, skill distribution in both countries is determined endogenously in the model through self-selection. The economy produces a final good with the use of a high-tech intermediate input and unskilled workers. Horizontally differentiated skilled workers produce the high-tech intermediate input. Cities are formed in this model as a result of investment in setup cost, i.e., public infrastructures. I characterize two different types of spatial equilibria: a closed-economy equilibrium, in which each country consists of a system of cities without trade, and a free-trade equilibrium, in which we allow for trade between cities and countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Abdel-Rahman, Hesham M., 2005. "Trade, Urban Systems, and Labor Markets," Working Papers 2005-13, University of New Orleans, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:uno:wpaper:2005-13

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Potential ability; Training; Cities;

    JEL classification:

    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies
    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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