, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 19–50

Explaining UK wage inequality in the past globalisation period, 1880–1913

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11698-009-0038-z

Cite this article as:
Betrán, C., Ferri, J. & Pons, M.A. Cliometrica (2010) 4: 19. doi:10.1007/s11698-009-0038-z


The current era of globalisation has witnessed a rising premium paid to skilled workers resulting in increasing wage inequality in most OECD countries. This pattern differs from that observed during the past globalisation period (1880–1913), in which wage inequality decreased in most of the Old World countries. The present debate over wage inequality focuses on the implications of globalisation, technological change, the role of labour market institutions and education. Similar factors were at work in the past globalisation process. In order to disentangle the main factors that contribute to wage inequality, we calibrate a general equilibrium model for the UK economy in the past globalisation period. The results show that a trade shock and a skilled-biased technology shock increased wage inequality. However, education and emigration had a more significant impact and led to a decrease in wage inequality.


Wage inequality Globalisation Technological change General equilibrium 

JEL Classification

N30 C68 J31 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de EconomíaUniversidad de ValenciaValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations