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A Regional Analysis of the Impact of Trade and Foreign Direct Investment on Wages in Mexico, 1984–2000

Jim Airola ()

Review of Development Economics, 2008, vol. 12, issue 2, 276-290

Abstract: The conventional Heckscher–Ohlin model of trade predicts an equalizing effect of trade on wages in developing countries abundant in less‐skilled labor. Contrary to these predictions, skill premiums and skill demand increased in Mexico following trade liberalization. “New” trade theories have offered several channels through which trade can increase relative wages and demand for skilled workers. One such channel is foreign direct investment and outsourcing. Using the Mexican Household Income and Expenditure Survey (ENIGH) covering 1984–2000, the author examines the relationship between the demand for skill and maquiladora employment across regions and states. In contrast to previous studies based on manufacturing data for the 1980s, little evidence is found that growth in maquiladora employment is positively related to the increase in relative wages or wage‐bill share of more educated workers.

Date: 2008
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