Annual Forum Papers

Trade, Technology and Wage Inequality in the South African Manufacturing Sectors

  • Year: 2005
  • Author(s): Johannes Fedderke;Yongcheol Shin
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

This paper advances on previous work on the effects of trade and technical change on labour markets within the framework of Heckscher-Ohlin trade theory. First, we employ dynamic heterogeneous panel estimation techniques not previously used in this
context, which separate Heckscher-Ohlin-based long run relationships from short run dynamics that are heterogeneous across sectors. Second, we provide evidence for an unskilled labor abundant developing country that allows comparison of the results
against developed country evidence. Third, we consider the appropriateness of alternative approaches and examine endogeneity issues in the impact of technology and price changes on factor returns. For South African manufacturing we find that output prices
increase most strongly in sectors that are labor intensive. Our results further suggest that trade-mandated earnings increases are positive for labor, and negative for capital.

By contrast technology has mandated negative earnings increases for both factors. We also find that separation of different demand side factors collectively constituting globalization is useful in understanding the impact of trade, and taking account of
endogeneity is important in isolating factor and sector bias of technological change.