Trade Sensitivity, Technology, and Labor Displacement
33 Pages Posted: 3 May 1998 Last revised: 13 May 2021
Date Written: June 1996
We study the relationship between international trade, technology, and the probability and consequences of job displacement, using data on displaced workers as well as those at risk of job dislocation for 1984-86 and 1989-91. Workers employed in industries with elevated import shares and high levels of investment in computers appear to have increased rates of job loss, with the results for export penetration varying on the time period examined. These risks do not, however, translate into unfavorable postdisplacement labor market outcomes. Indeed, there is some evidence that individuals displaced from export-oriented sectors have fewer adjustment problems than the generality of dislocated workers, while those terminated from sectors investing heavily in computer technologies are more likely to retain health insurance coverage. That being said, our findings are frequently sensitive to the choice of specifications and time periods.
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