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Labor demand andtrade reform in Latin America

  • Fajnzylber, Pablo
  • Maloney, William F.

There are concerns that trade reform and globalization will increase the uncertainty that the average worker, especially the relatively unskilled worker, faces. The increased competitiveness of product markets and greater access to foreign inputs, the argument goes, will lead to more elastic demand for workers. This may have adverse consequences for both labor market volatility and wage dispersion. The authors argue that while the case that trade liberalization should increase own-wage elasticities may be broadly compelling for competitive import-competing industries, it is less so for imperfectly competitive, nontradable, or export industries. They test the hypothesis using establishment-level panel data from three countries with periods of liberalization. The data provide only mixed support for the idea that trade liberalization has an impact on own-wage elasticities. No consistent patterns emerge. If globalization is making the lives of workers more insecure, it is probably working through some other mechanism.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2491.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2491
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  1. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1997. "Learning by Trading and the Returns to Human Capital in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 17-32, January.
  2. Harrison, Ann & Hanson, Gordon, 1999. "Who gains from trade reform? Some remaining puzzles," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 125-154, June.
  3. Adriana Cassoni & Steven G. Allen & Gaston J. Labadie, 2000. "Unions and Employment in Uruguay," Research Department Publications 3092, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    • Adriana Cassoni & Steven G. Allen & Gaston J. Labadie, 2004. "Unions and Employment in Uruguay," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 435-496 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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  7. Easterly, William & Loayza, Norman & Montiel, Peter, 1997. "Has Latin America's post-reform growth been disappointing?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1708, The World Bank.
  8. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1995. "Trade, Technology, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
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  11. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish & Chinoy, Sajjid, 2001. "Trade liberalization and labor demand elasticities: evidence from Turkey," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 391-409, December.
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  15. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 57, December.
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  17. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  18. Maloney, William F. & Azevedo, Rodrigo R., 1995. "Trade reform, uncertainty, and export promotion: Mexico 1982-88," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 67-89, October.
  19. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M., 1993. "The Long-Run Demand for Labor: Estimates from Census Establishment Data," Papers 10-93-8, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
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