NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Globalization and Income Distribution: A Specific Factors Continuum Approach

James E. Anderson

NBER Working Paper No. 14643
Issued in January 2009
NBER Program(s):   ITI

Does globalization widen inequality or increase income risk? In the specific factors continuum model of this paper, globalization widens inequality, amplifying the positive (negative) premia for export (import- competing) sectors. Globalization amplifies the risk from idiosyncratic relative productivity shocks but reduces risk from aggregate shocks to absolute advantage, relative endowments and transfers. Aggregate-shock-induced income risk bears most heavily on the poorest specific factors, while non-traded sectors are insulated. Heterogeneous shocks to firms induce Darwinian competition for sector specific factors that is harsher the more productive the sector. Wage bargaining implies within-sector wage dispersion that falls or rises with export intensity depending on the joint distribution of sectoral and firm shocks.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14643

Published: The Specific Factors Continuum Model, with Implications for Globalization and Income Risk James E. Anderson Revised, July 2011 Journal of International Economics, 85, 174-85.

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