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Trade liberalization and wage inequality: New insights from a dynamic trade model with heterogeneous firms and comparative advantage

Listed author(s):
  • Lechthaler, Wolfgang
  • Mileva, Mariya

We develop a dynamic general equilibrium trade model with comparative advantage, heterogeneous firms, heterogeneous workers and endogenous firm entry to study wage inequality during the adjustment after trade liberalization. We find that trade liberalization increases wage inequality both in the short run and in the long run. In the short run, wage inequality is mainly driven by an increase in inter-sectoral wage inequality, while in the medium to long run, wage inequality is driven by an increase in the skill premium. Incorporating worker training in the model considerably reduces the effects of trade liberalization on wage inequality. The effects on wage inequality are much more adverse when trade liberalization is unilateral instead of bilateral or restricted to specific sectors instead of including all sectors.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1886.

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Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:1886
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