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Wage Inequality and Unemployment in the Presence of Imported Intermediate Goods: A Theoretical Analysis

Priya Brata Dutta and Nirjhar Ghosh

Foreign Trade Review, 2021, vol. 56, issue 4, 375-399

Abstract: This article develops a static three-sector and five-factor competitive general equilibrium model of a small open economy: sector 1 is the rural agricultural sector, which produces products using informal or unorganised unskilled labour and land as inputs; sector 2 is the urban manufacturing, final-goods-producing sector that produces products with the help of unskilled labour, who get unionised wages, and capital; and sector 3 is the service sector, which uses skilled labour with formal wages, capital and sophisticated hi-technology-intensive imported intermediate goods produced abroad as inputs. We show that an exogenous increase in capital inflow or an increase in tariff on imported intermediate input reduces the skilled–unskilled wage inequality and lowers unemployment as long as the return to capital is unaltered and output adjustments absorb the entire shock of the two policies. Such capital inflow increases rural wage and reduces unemployment via the Harris Todaro mechanism but interestingly does not allow the skilled wage to increase. Thus, two critical policy targets can be accommodated at the same time. JEL Codes: F13, J31, J46

Keywords: Wage inequality; skilled labour; unskilled labour; input trade reform; general equilibrium; unemployment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/0015732520986893

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