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The effects of globalization on wage inequality: New insights from a dynamic trade model with heterogeneous firms

  • Braun, Sebastian
  • Lechthaler, Wolfgang
  • Mileva, Mariya

Fears of increasing inequality play a dominant role in current debates on how globalization is affecting our economies. After a brief review of recent trends in wage inequality, this policy paper presents new insights on the dynamic effect of trade liberalization on wage inequality. In the context of a dynamic trade model with costly labour mobility (Lechthaler and Mileva, 2013), we show that the effect of trade liberalization on wage inequality depends on i) the time horizon considered, ii) the degree of worker mobility, and iii) the degree of trade liberalization (partial/full). In the short-run, observed increases in wage inequality are driven by an increase in inter-sectoral wage inequality, while in the long run, wage inequality is driven by an increase in the skill premium.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in its series Kiel Policy Brief with number 70.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkpb:70
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 31-66.
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  7. Verhoogen, Eric A, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 6385, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. A. Kerem Coşar & Nezih Guner & James Tybout, 2010. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," NBER Working Papers 16326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
  14. Gueorgui Kambourov, 2009. "Labour Market Regulations and the Sectoral Reallocation of Workers: The Case of Trade Reforms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1321-1358.
  15. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  16. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact Of Outsourcing And High-Technology Capital On Wages: Estimates For The United States, 1979-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940, August.
  17. Dix-Carneiro, Rafael, 2011. "Trade liberalization and labor market dynamics," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2011-19, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
  18. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
  19. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881, May.
  20. Paul R. Krugman, 2008. "Trade and Wages, Reconsidered," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 103-154.
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  23. Wolfgang Lechthaler & Mariya Mileva, 2013. "Two-Country Dynamic Model of Trade with Heterogeneous Firms and Comparative Advantage," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 12, WWWforEurope.
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