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Skill premium and trade puzzles: A solution linking production factors and demand

Thibault Fally ()

No 1189, 2012 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: International trade theory is a general-equilibrium discipline, yet most of the standard portfolio of research focuses on the production side of general equilibrium. In addition, we do not have a good understanding of the relationship between characteristics of goods in production and characteristics of preferences. This paper conducts an empirical investigation into the relationship between a good's factor intensity in production and its income elasticity of demand in consumption. In particular, we nd a strong and signicant positive relationship between skilled-labor intensity in production and income-elasticity of demand for several types of preferences, with and without accounting for trade costs and dierences in prices. Counter-factual simulations yield a number of results. We can explain one third or more of "missing trade", and show an important role for per-capita income in understanding trade/GDP ratios, the choice of trading partners, and the composition of trade. Furthermore, an equal rise in productivity in all sectors in all countries leads to a rising skill premium in all countries, with particularly large increases in developing countries.

Date: 2012
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-int
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