NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Immigrants and Natives in General Equilibrium Trade Models

Daniel Trefler

NBER Working Paper No. 6209
Issued in October 1997
NBER Program(s):   ITI   LS

This paper makes three observations about international trade and immigration. (i)" Borjas has argued that immigration may yield a net social benefit even though it hurts those less-skilled workers who directly compete with immigrants. I show that this closed-economy" argument unravels when imbedded in the Ricardian or Heckscher-Ohlin models of international" trade. (ii) Following Wood and Feenstra-Hanson, I argue that within an industry those goods" produced abroad use more unskilled labor than those goods produced in the United States. How" much more depends on whether the good is produced in a developed or developing country. " After transparently incorporating this into a new factor content study I find that changes in U.S." trade patterns almost certainly battered wages of those at the very bottom of the skill ladder. (iii)" Despite globalization pressures, I find little evidence of earnings convergence for a sample of 75" countries over the 1963-92 period. This holds true even after controlling for education and workers' industry of affiliation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6209

Published: In The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, Smith, James P., ed., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998, pp. 206-238.

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