Ginis in General Equilibrium: Trade, Technology and Southern Inequality
NBER Working Paper No. 8446
Within developing and newly industrialized countries, rising wage inequality is both common and highly correlated with export growth. This is incompatible with the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, but suggestive of a role for technological catch-up. We develop this insight using a model that features both Ricardian and endowments-based comparative advantage. In this model Southern catch-up induces a correlation between rising inequality and export growth. It also induces a shift in trade patterns that results in skill upgrading and rising inequality in both the South and the North. A rudimentary empirical exercise reveals that, as predicted, Southern skill upgrading is correlated with the trade-weighted average rate of Southern catch-up.