Trade, Technology, and Wage Inequality
NBER Working Paper No. 5110
In Mexico during the 1980s, the wages of more-educated, more- experienced workers rose relative to those of less-educated, less- experienced workers. We assess the extent to which the increase in the skilled-unskilled wage gap was associated with Mexico's recent trade reform. In particular, we examine whether trade reform has shifted employment towards industries that are relatively intensive in the use of skilled labor (Stolper-Samuelson-type effects). The results suggest that the rising wage gap is associated with changes internal to industries and even internal to plants that cannot be explained by Stolper-Samuelson-type effects. We also find that other characteristics associated with globalization -- such as foreign investment and export orientation -- matter. Exporting firms and joint ventures pay higher wages to skilled workers and demand more skilled labor than other firms.
Published: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 52 (1999): 271-288.