Trade and Labor Markets Research Conference Call for Papers

October 13-14, 2017

Over the past thirty years, the American labor market has experienced a substantial increase in wage inequality and a polarization of employment outcomes. While the real wages of workers above the 80th percentile have increased on average by over 0.5 percent per annum, those of workers below the median have declined in real terms. Employment has grown sharply at both the top and the bottom of the wage distribution, whereas employment in middle-income jobs such as in manufacturing has declined. As a result, the share of aggregate income going to the highest-earning 1 percent of Americans has more than doubled between 1980 and 2015, returning towards levels last observed towards the end of the nineteenth century. There are several potential explanations for these findings, including technological change, but one of the most common and politically contentious explanations concerns the role of international trade.

To provide new insights on these issues, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), with the support of Smith Richardson Foundation, will convene a research conference on “Trade and Labor Markets.” The conference, which will consist of ten research papers, will be held in October 13-14, 2017 in Cambridge, MA. The program will be organized by Gordon Hanson, of the University of California-San Diego and NBER, and Stephen Redding, of Princeton University and NBER.

This conference will examine the labor market consequences of international trade with a focus on the United States. Both theoretical and empirical research, and combinations, are welcome. Of particular interest is the evaluation of current and future possible labor market policy responses in the presence of market failures and adjustment costs, including Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), wage subsidies, negative income taxes, and regional, urban and other place-based policies.

Papers presented at the conference will be submitted through the usual review process at the Journal of International Economics for consideration for a special issue. Please upload submissions to the following web link by Friday, June 2, 2017.

Authors of papers that are selected will be notified by early July 2017. Please do not submit papers that have been submitted elsewhere for publication, or that have been accepted for publication in another outlet. Accepted papers may also be included in the NBER working paper series.

The NBER will cover the cost of domestic travel and hotel expenses for up to two authors per paper and for discussants at the conference. Questions about this conference may be addressed to
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