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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Dani Rodrik
Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy
phone: (617)495-1407
Is Global Equality the Enemy of National Equality?
Rodrik, Dani. "Is Global Equality the Enemy of National Equality?" HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP17-003, January 2017.
Abstract
The bulk of global inequality is accounted for by income differences across countries rather than within countries. Expanding trade with China has aggravated inequality in some advanced economies, while ameliorating global inequality. But the “China shock” is receding and other low-income countries are unlikely to replicate China’s export-oriented industrialization experience. Relaxing restrictions on cross-border labor mobility might have an even stronger positive effect on global inequality. However it also raises a similar tension. While there would likely be adverse effects on low-skill workers in the advanced economies, international labor mobility has some advantages compared to further liberalizing international trade in goods. I argue that none of the contending perspectives -- national-egalitarian, cosmopolitan, utilitarian -- provides on its own an adequate frame for evaluating the consequences.
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