NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States

David H. Autor, David Dorn, Gordon H. Hanson

NBER Working Paper No. 18054
Issued in May 2012
NBER Program(s):   IFM   LS

We analyze the effect of rising Chinese import competition between 1990 and 2007 on local U.S. labor markets, exploiting cross-market variation in import exposure stemming from initial differences in industry specialization while instrumenting for imports using changes in Chinese imports by industry to other high-income countries. Rising exposure increases unemployment, lowers labor force participation, and reduces wages in local labor markets. Conservatively, it explains one-quarter of the contemporaneous aggregate decline in U.S. manufacturing employment. Transfer benefits payments for unemployment, disability, retirement, and healthcare also rise sharply in exposed labor markets.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18054

Published: David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2121-68, October. citation courtesy of

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