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Trends in tariff reforms and trends in wage inequality

  • Galiano, Sebastian
  • Porto, Guido G.

The authors provide new evidence on the impacts of trade reforms on wages and wage inequality in developing countries. While most of the current literature on the topic achieves identification by comparing outcomes before and after one episode of trade liberalization across industries, they propose a stronger identifying strategy. The authors explore the recent historical record of policy changes adopted by Argentina: from significant protection in the early 1970s, to the first episode of liberalization during the late 1970s, back to a slowdown of reforms during the 1980s, to the second episode of liberalization in the 1990s. These swings in trade policy comprise broken trends in trade reforms that they can compare with observed trends in wages and wage inequality. After setting up unusual historical data sets of trends in tariffs, trends in wages, and trends in wage inequality, the evidence supports two well-known hypotheses: trade liberalization, other things being equal, (1) has reduced wages, and (2) has increased wage inequality.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3905.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3905
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  1. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
  2. L. Alan Winters & Neil McCulloch & Andrew McKay, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: The Evidence So Far," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 72-115, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Nina Pavcnik, 2000. "What Explains Skill Upgrading in Less Developed Countries?," NBER Working Papers 7846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Zadia M. Feliciano, 2001. "Workers and trade liberalization: The impact of trade reforms in Mexico on wages and employment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, October.
  6. Kloek, T, 1981. "OLS Estimation in a Model Where a Microvariable Is Explained by Aggregates and Contemporaneous Disturbances Are Equicorrelated," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 205-07, January.
  7. Currie, Janet & Harrison, Ann E, 1997. "Sharing the Costs: The Impact of Trade Reform on Capital and Labor in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S44-71, July.
  8. Hiau LooiKee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 172-199, 01.
  9. Mary E. Lovely & J. David Richardson, 1998. "Trade Flows and Wage Premiums: Does Who or What Matter?," NBER Working Papers 6668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  12. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  13. Robertson, Raymond, 2004. "Relative prices and wage inequality: evidence from Mexico," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 387-409, December.
  14. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Revenga, Ana, 1997. "Employment and Wage Effects of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Mexican Manufacturing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S20-43, July.
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