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The Role of Globalization in the Within-Industry Shift Away from Unskilled Workers in France

In: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics

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  • Vanessa Strauss-Kahn

Abstract

Growth in international trade and globalization has been correlated in nearly all countries with a worsening of the less skilled labor situation relative to the skilled. In this empirical paper, I show that an important component of recent globalization in France has been a huge growth in vertical specialization -- the completion of the different production stages of a good in different countries. By shifting relative labor demand across countries, globalization of this form could explain the poor relative showing of unskilled labor in industrial countries. Using input-output tables and labor data, I find that in France vertical specialization -- defined as the share of imported inputs in production -- rose from 9% in 1977 to 14% in 1993. Further estimations show that vertical specialization contributed from 11% to 15% of the decline in the share of unskilled workers in French manufacturing employment for the 1977-1985 period and for 25% of the decline in the 1985-1993 period.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Robert E. Baldwin & L. Alan Winters, 2004. "Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bald04-1, July.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 9539.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9539

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    1. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
    2. Stephen Machin & A Ryan & John Van Reenen, 1996. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from an International Panel of Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0297, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," NBER Working Papers 5125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert C. Feenstra, . "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Department of Economics 98-06, California Davis - Department of Economics.
    5. Olivier Cortès & Sébastien Jean, 1997. "Quel est l'impact du commerce extérieur sur la productivité et l'emploi ?," Working Papers 1997-08, CEPII research center.
    6. Strauss-Kahn, Vanessa, 2005. "Firms' location decision across asymmetric countries and employment inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 299-320, February.
    7. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Direct Investment and Relative Wages: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladoras," NBER Working Papers 5122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Papers 95-14, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    9. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
    10. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The Evolving External Orientation of Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 5919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
    13. Anxo, Dominique & Sterner, Thomas, 1994. "Using electricity data to measure capital utilization," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 63-74, January.
    14. David Hummels & Dana Rapoport & Kei-Mu Yi, 1998. "Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 79-99.
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