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Tariffs, relative prices and wage inequality: Evidence from China

Yun Xu and Alice Y. Ouyang

China Economic Review, 2017, vol. 46, issue C, 97-109

Abstract: This paper, based on data from China after its membership into the World Trade Organization (WTO), shows the co-existence of a fluctuating skill premium and rises in wages for both skilled and unskilled labor. Our research provides one specific factor, the tariff reduction biased toward unskilled labor-intensive sectors, to explain and quantify the magnitudes of skill premium dynamics using the mandated-wage approach. The empirical evidence indicates that sector-biased tariff reductions have widened wage inequality in China through their effect on product prices. World price competition, on the other hand, has contributed to declining wage inequality via product prices, which is consistent with the endowment-based expectations of China's integration into the more skilled-labor abundant world.

Keywords: Tariff; Relative prices; Wage inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F13 F14 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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