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The effect of trade on the demand for skill: evidence from the interstate highway system

Michaels, Guy (2008) The effect of trade on the demand for skill: evidence from the interstate highway system. Review of Economics and Statistics, 90 (4). pp. 683-701. ISSN 0034-6535

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Identification Number: 10.1162/rest.90.4.683

Abstract

Since changes in trade openness are typically confounded with other factors, it has been difficult to identify the labor market consequences of increased international trade. The advent of the United States Interstate Highway System provides a unique policy experiment, which I use to identify the effect of reducing trade barriers on the relative demand for skilled labor. The Interstate Highway System was designed to connect major metropolitan areas, to serve national defense and to connect the United States to Canada and Mexico. As a consequence–though not an objective–many rural counties were also connected to the highway system. I find that these counties experienced an increase in trade-related activities, such as trucking and retail sales, by 7-10 percentage points per capita. Most significantly, by increasing trade the highways raised the relative demand for skilled manufacturing workers in counties with a high endowment of human capital and reduced it elsewhere, consistent with the predictions of the Heckscher-Ohlin model.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/rest
Additional Information: © 2008 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Departments > Economics
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2011 13:47
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3121

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