Volatility, Labor Market Flexibility, and the Pattern of Comparative Advantage

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Volatility, Labor Market Flexibility, and the Pattern of Comparative Advantage

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Title: Volatility, Labor Market Flexibility, and the Pattern of Comparative Advantage
Author: Cuñat, Alejandro; Melitz, Marc J.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Cuñat, Alejandro, and Marc J. Melitz. 2012. Volatility, labor market flexibility, and the pattern of comparative advantage. Journal of the European Economic Association 10(2): 225-254.
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Abstract: This paper studies the link between volatility, labor market flexibility, and international trade. International differences in labor market regulations affect how firms can adjust to idiosyncratic shocks. These institutional differences interact with sector specific differences in volatility (the variance of the firm-specific shocks in a sector) to generate a new source of comparative advantage. Other things equal, countries with more flexible labor markets specialize in sectors with higher volatility. Empirical evidence for a large sample of countries strongly supports this theory: the exports of countries with more flexible labor markets are biased towards high-volatility sectors. We show how differences in labor market institutions can be parsimoniously integrated into the workhorse model of Ricardian comparative advantage of Dornbusch, Fischer, and Samuelson (1977, American Economic Review, 67, 823–839). We also show how our model can be extended to multiple factors of production.
Published Version: doi:10.1111/j.1542-4774.2011.01038.x
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10914283
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