Multinational Production, Skilled Labor and Real Wages

38 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 1998 Last revised: 28 Jun 2010

See all articles by James R. Markusen

James R. Markusen

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

Anthony J. Venables

University of Oxford; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: March 1996

Abstract

Adapting our earlier model of multinationals, we address policy issues involving wages and labor skills. Multinational firms may arise endogenously, exporting their firm-specific knowledge capital to foreign production facilities, and geographically fragmenting production into skilled and unskilled-labor-intensive activities. Multinationals thus alter the nature of trade, from trade in goods (produced with both skilled and unskilled labor) to trade in skilled- labor-intensive producer services. Results shed light on several policy questions. First, multinationals increase the skilled/unskilled wage gap in the high income country and, under some circumstances, in the low income country as well. Second, there is a sense in which multinationals export low skilled jobs to the lower income country. Third, trade barriers do not protect unskilled labor in the high income countries. By inducing a regime shift to multinationals, trade barriers protect the abundant factor, at least in the high income country and possibly in both countries. Fourth, a convergence in country characteristics induces the entry of multinationals and raises the skilled-unskilled wage gap in the initially large and skilled-labor-abundant country, and possibly in the small skilled-labor-scarce country as well.

Suggested Citation

Markusen, James R. and Venables, Anthony J., Multinational Production, Skilled Labor and Real Wages (March 1996). NBER Working Paper No. w5483. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3029

James R. Markusen (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-0748 (Phone)
303-492-8960 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Anthony J. Venables

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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