The Samuelson-Stolper theorem

U.S. multinational corporations, the big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers, have been hiring abroad while cutting back at home, sharpening the debate over globalization’s effect on the U.S. economy.

The companies cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show. That’s a big switch from the 1990s, when they added jobs everywhere: 4.4 million in the U.S. and 2.7 million abroad.

From David Wessel, there is more here.  Somewhat heretically, I see at least a fifty percent chance that our next decade will be marked by a) slow technological progress, and b) the Samuelson-Stolper factor price equalization theorem.  Before 2000, trade helped boost real wages in the United States, but it is much less clear that is true post-2000.  If you’re not thinking about these issues seriously, I would say you are asleep at the wheel.

By the way, I have no problem giving these developments a positive cosmopolitan interpretation.  And rather than leading to massive calls for left-wing redistribution (a common prediction), I sooner expect the opposite, more on that soon.


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