ICT, access to services and wage inequality

This paper discusses how information and communication technology (ICT) affects the quality and reach of consumer services. These services need to be provided locally, but consist of several components, some of which can be digitised and transmitted over long distances. A general equilibrium model is developed and numerical simulations in a stylised two-factor, two-region, centre-periphery setting are presented. Trade in intermediate services improves the quality of consumer services enormously in the periphery, but may reduce the quality at the centre. Trade in intermediate services also has a dramatic impact on skilled workers’ wages in the periphery, both relative to unskilled workers in their own region and relative to skilled workers at the centre and leads to a more equal distribution of income both between the centre and the periphery and within the periphery.

No: ERSD-2003-02


Hildegunn Kyvik Nordås — WTO

Manuscript date:  August 2003

Key Words

Trade in services, transaction costs, income distribution, ICT

JEL classification numbers  

D23, F12, F13, R12, R13.

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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of individual staff members or visiting scholars, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, not the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the authors. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization, rue de Lausanne 154, CH-1211 Genève 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

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