Who Gains from Trade Reform? Some Remaining Puzzles

50 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 1999 Last revised: 7 May 2000

See all articles by Ann E. Harrison

Ann E. Harrison

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 1999

Abstract

This paper focuses on three unresolved issues with regard to the impact of trade reform. First, many studies linking trade reform to long run growth are surprisingly fragile. To illustrate the problems with this literature, we examine a popular measure of openness recently introduced by Sachs and Warner (1995). We show that their measure fails to establish a robust link between more open trade policies and long run growth. The second puzzle we identify is the small impact of trade reform on employment in developing countries. Finally, we analyze evidence on the relationship between trade reform and rising wage inequality, focusing on the 1985 Mexican trade reform. Wage inequality in Mexico rose after the reform, which is puzzling in a Heckscher-Ohlin context if Mexico has a comparative advantage in producing low skill-intensive goods.

Suggested Citation

Harrison, Ann E. and Hanson, Gordon H., Who Gains from Trade Reform? Some Remaining Puzzles (January 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w6915. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=147994

Ann E. Harrison (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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