The Rybczynski Theorem, Factor-Price Equalization, and Immigration: Evidence from U.S. States

49 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2012

See all articles by Gordon H. Hanson

Gordon H. Hanson

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

Matthew J. Slaughter

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 1999

Abstract

Recent literature on the labor-market effects of U.S. immigration tends to find little correlation between regional immigrant inflows and changes in relative regional wages. In this paper we examine whether immigration, or endowment shocks more generally, altered U.S. regional output mixes as predicted by the Rybczynski Theorem of Heckscher-Ohlin (HO) trade theory. This theorem describes how regions can absorb endowment shocks via changes in output mix without any changes in relative regional factor prices. Treating U.S. states as HO regions, we search for evidence of regional output-mix effects using a new data set that combines state endowments, outputs, and employment in 1980 and 1990. We have two main findings. First, state output-mix changes broadly match state endowment changes. Second, variation in state unit factor requirements is consistent with relative factor-price equalization (FPE) across states, which is a sufficient condition for our output-mix hypothesis to hold. Overall, these findings suggest that states absorb regional endowment shocks through mechanisms other than changes in relative regional factor prices.

Suggested Citation

Hanson, Gordon H. and Slaughter, Matthew J., The Rybczynski Theorem, Factor-Price Equalization, and Immigration: Evidence from U.S. States (April 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7074. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=206153

Gordon H. Hanson (Contact Author)

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

Matthew J. Slaughter

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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