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Does Trade, Technology, or Education Expel Traditional Sectors? Some Evidence from the Collapse of the Silk Sector in South Korea

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Rapid economic growth and development often drives out traditional activities. We determine how increased trade, technology, and access to education in South Korea led to the collapse of its silk sector. Results show that although the imports of silk yarn and fabric reduced domestic silk output and prices, trade liberalization was not the sole contributor to the collapse. Inelastic labor demand for unskilled workers, skill-biased technology, and especially increased access to education all led to a sharp rise in the relative wage of unskilled workers, and the ensuing rise in production costs contributed to the silk sector's collapse.
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Keywords: F16; I21; J31; O33; Q17; South Korea; education; silk; technology; trade; wages

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research, Box 30709, Nairobi 00100, Kenya 2: School of Agricultural Economic and Rural Development, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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