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Machines and machinists: Capital-skill complementarity from an international trade perspective

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  • Csillag, Márton
  • Koren, Miklós

Abstract

We estimate the effect of imported machines on the wages of machine operators utilizing Hungarian linked employer-employee data. We infer exposure to imported machines from detailed trade statistics of the firm and the occupation description of the worker. We find that workers exposed to imported machines earn about 8 percent higher wages than other machine operators at the same firm. When we proxy for unobserved worker characteristics, we find a significant 3 percent wage premium, suggesting that the relationship is causal. The return to schooling is also higher on imported machines. We build a simple matching model consistent with these findings. Our findings suggest that machine imports can be an important channel through which skill-biased technical change reaches less developed and emerging economies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8317.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8317

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Keywords: capital-skill complementarity; imported machinery; linked employer-employee data; wages;

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References

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  1. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
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  3. H, Entorf & Michel Gollac & Francis Kramarz, 1997. "New Technologies, Wages and Worker Selection," Working Papers 97-25, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. Francesco Caselli & Daniel Wilson, 2002. "Importing technology," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  5. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 747-786, 08.
  6. Verhoogen, Eric, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 2913, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Paula Bustos, 2011. "The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Skill Upgrading Evidence from Argentina," Working Papers 559, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Aitken, Brian & Harrison, Ann & Lipsey, Robert E., 1996. "Wages and foreign ownership A comparative study of Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 345-371, May.
  9. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, October.
  10. Alfaro, Laura & Hammel, Eliza, 2007. "Capital flows and capital goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 128-150, May.
  11. Elhanan Helpman & David T. Coe, 1993. "International RandD Spillovers," IMF Working Papers 93/84, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Laszlo Halpern & Miklos Koren & Adam Szeidl, 2005. "Import and Productivity," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0509, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  13. Paula Bustos, 2010. "Trade Liberalization, Technology and Skill Upgrading. Evidence from Argentina," 2010 Meeting Papers 937, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. László Halpern & Miklós Koren & Adam Szeidl, 2011. "Imported Inputs and Productivity," CeFiG Working Papers 8, Center for Firms in the Global Economy, revised 16 Sep 2011.
  15. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Juhn, Chinhui & Ujhelyi, Gergely & Villegas-Sanchez, Carolina, 2014. "Men, women, and machines: How trade impacts gender inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 179-193.
  2. Lo Turco, Alessia & Maggioni, Daniela, 2013. "Does Trade Foster Employment Growth in Emerging Markets? Evidence from Turkey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-18.
  3. Békés, Gábor & Halpern, László & Muraközy, Balázs, 2013. "Külkereskedelem és a vállalatok közötti különbségek
    [Heterogeneous firms and foreign trade]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 1-24.

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