NBER Working Papers by Raymond Robertson

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Working Papers

November 2008China and the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Countries
with Gordon H. Hanson: w14497
In this paper, we examine the impact of China's growth on developing countries that specialize in manufacturing. Over 2000-2005, manufacturing accounted for 32% of China's GDP and 89% of its merchandise exports, making it more specialized in the sector than any other large developing economy. Using the gravity model of trade, we decompose bilateral trade into components associated with demand conditions in importing countries, supply conditions in exporting countries, and bilateral trade costs. We identify 10 developing economies for which manufacturing represents more than 75% of merchandise exports (Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Turkey), which are in theory the countries most exposed to the adverse consequences of China...
July 2005A Note on the Empirical Implementation of the Lens Condition
with Andrew B. Bernard, Peter K. Schott: w11448
Deardorff [Journal of International Economics 36 (1994) 167-175] offers an intuitively appealing test for factor price equality (FPE). He demonstrates that FPE is impossible if the set (i.e., lens) of points defined by regional factor abundance vectors does not lie within the set of points defined by goods' input intensities. This note demonstrates that empirical implementation of the lens condition is problematic if the "true" number of either goods or regions is unknown. We show that satisfaction of the lens condition is more likely when goods are relatively disaggregate compared to regions.
November 2004Is Mexico A Lumpy Country?
with Andrew B. Bernard, Peter K. Schott: w10898
Mexico's experience before and after trade liberalization presents a challenge to neoclassical trade theory. Though labor abundant, it nevertheless exported skill-intensive goods and protected labor-intensive sectors prior to liberalization. Post-liberalization, the relative wage of skilled workers rose. Courant and Deardorff (1992) have shown theoretically that an extremely uneven distribution of factors within a country can induce behavior at odds with overall comparative advantage. We demonstrate the importance of this insight for developing countries. We show that Mexican regions exhibit substantial variation in skill abundance, offer significantly different relative factor rewards, and produce disjoint sets of industries. This heterogeneity helps to both undermine Mexico's aggregate l...
March 1999Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers from Illegal Immigration?
with Gordon H. Hanson, Antonio Spilimbergo: w7054
In this paper, we examine the impact of government enforcement of the U.S.-Mexican border on wages in the border regions of the United States and Mexico. The U.S. Border Patrol polices U.S. boundaries, seeking to apprehend any individual attempting to enter the United States illegally. These efforts are concentrated on the Mexican border, as most illegal immigrants embark from a Mexican border city and choose a U.S. border state as their final destination. We examine labor markets in southern California, southwestern Texas, and Mexican cities on the U.S.-Mexico border. For each region, we have high-frequency time-series data on wages and on the number of person hours that the U.S. Border Patrol spends policing border areas. For a range of empirical specifications and definitions of regi...

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