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Labor Costs and Marginal Intra-Industry Trade: The Thailand Experience

DOI: 10.4236/tel.2014.41019, PP. 125-131

Keywords: Marginal Intra-Industry Trade (MIIT), Smooth Adjustment Hypothesis (SAH), Thailand Industry, Dynamic Panel Data (GMM-System)

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Thailand’s international trade, exports in particular, expanded considerably after the major policy changes in 1990. According to this expansion, there was also a significant increase in intra-industry trade even though the major characteristic of Thailand trade is still inter-industry. However, intra-industry trade is hypothesized to reduce adjustment costs due to trade expansion and changes in trade compared to inter-industry trade. The main purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of increased Intra-Industry Trade (IIT) on the labor market adjustment cost, in view of the changes in Thailand’s pattern of trade over the post-1990 period. The study is focused on the hypothesis that Intra-Industry Trade (IIT) expansion entails lower factor adjustment costs (Smooth Adjustment Hypothesis-SAH). A dynamic panel data approach is employed. The results suggest a negative correlation between changes in employment and Marginal Intra-Industry Trade (MIIT) and confirmation of the SAH. Given the increase in IIT as a proportion of Thailand’s overall trade during the period under review, the adjustment in labor markets in the form of reduced employment from trade liberalization at that time is likely to have been less than that would have otherwise been expected.


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