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Using a theoretical model with an industrial world trading with a developing world and assuming no impediment to capital flows, it is shown that an abundant supply of unskilled labor will render real wages for the unskilled close to the subsistence level and will result in excess capacity. The rate of return for traditional manufacturing investment at the margin will decline so funds will seek to invest in financial assets and real property, boosting their prices. Under reasonable assumptions about the income elasticity and the price elasticity of demand for manufacturing products in rich and poor countries, it is shown that a global minimum wage may improve welfare. The paper discusses possible risks of such a strategy.


CPPS Working Paper Series No.151 (Sep 04)

Recommended Citation

Ho, L. S. (2004). Globalization, unemployment, and excess capacity: A model and a conjecture (CPPS Working Paper Series No.151). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: