Globalization and Wage Inequality

49 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016

See all articles by Elhanan Helpman

Elhanan Helpman

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

Globalization has been blamed for rising inequality in rich and poor countries. Yet the views of many protagonists in this debate are not based on evidence. To help form an evidence-based opinion, I review in this paper the theoretical and empirical literature on the relationship between globalization and wage inequality. While the initial analysis that started in the early 1990s focused on a particular mechanism that links trade to wages, subsequent studies have considered several other channels, and the quantitative assessment of the size of these influences has been carried out in multiple studies. Building on this research, I conclude that trade played an appreciable role in increasing wage inequality, but that its cumulative effect has been modest, and that globalization does not explain the preponderance of the rise in wage inequality within countries.

Suggested Citation

Helpman, Elhanan, Globalization and Wage Inequality (December 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22944. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2887206

Elhanan Helpman (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-4690 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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