RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2020-11

RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2020-11


Trade Liberalization and Wage inequality: Evidence from Chile


This study analyzes the impacts of further tariff reductions resulting from the proliferation of regional trade agreements on wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers in Chile in the 2000s. Thus, we use data on effective tariff rates instead of uniform most-favored-nation rates to measure trade liberalization. We match panel data on industry characteristics, including effective tariff rates, to pooled individual cross-section data from national household surveys at the industry level. We find that the reductions in effective tariffs on final goods increase industry wage premiums, thus suggesting that liberalization-induced productivity improvements lead to higher wages. However, considering the differential impacts on different skill groups, we find that the reductions significantly increase industry wage premiums only for skilled workers, thereby increasing wage inequality. Moreover, the impact is larger in skilled workers employed in large-sized firms. The results are robust to the inclusion of other industry characteristics, including input tariffs, the share of foreign-owned capital, and payments to foreign technology. The results are also robust to the inclusion of industry productivity, which is likely to affect the effective tariffs and industry wage premiums simultaneously, as well as control for the potential endogeneity of trade policy.


Regional trade agreements; Effective tariffs; Industry wage premiums; Industry skill premiums; Productivity

JEL Classification

F16, F61, J31, O15, O54


Please download the supplemantal file to DP2020-11 below.

pdf Supplemental File (255KB)


Yoshimichi MURAKAMI
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: +81-78-803-7036
FAX: +81-78-803-7059