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Exports and Wages: Rent Sharing, Workforce Composition or Returns to Skills?

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  • Macis, Mario
  • Schivardi, Fabiano

Abstract

We use linked employer-employee data from Italy to explore the relationship between exports and wages. Our empirical strategy exploits the 1992 devaluation of the Italian Lira, which represented a large and unforeseen shock to Italian firms' incentives to export. The results indicate that the export wage premium is due to exporting firms both (1) paying a wage premium above what their workers would earn in the outside labor market -- the 'rent-sharing' effect, and (2) employing workers whose skills command a higher price after the devaluation -- the ‘skill composition’ effect. The latter effect only emerges once we allow for the value of individual skills to differ in the pre- and post-devaluation periods. In fact, using a fixed measure of skills, as typically done in the literature, we would attribute the wage increase only to rent sharing. We also document that the export wage premium is larger for workers with more export-related experience. This indicates that the devaluation increased the demand for skills more useful for exporting, driving their relative price up.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8931.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8931

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Keywords: Export wage premium; Linked employer employee data;

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References

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  1. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2006. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," Working Papers 549, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Finicelli, Andrea & Liccardi, Alessandra & Sbracia, Massimo, 2005. "A New Indicator of Competitiveness for Italy and the Main Industrial and Emerging Countries," MPRA Paper 4703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Matteo Bugamelli & Fabiano Schivardi & Roberta Zizza, . "The euro and firm restructuring," Working Papers 10, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
  4. Oleg Itskhoki & Elhanan Helpman, 2008. "Labor Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," 2008 Meeting Papers 690, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Baumgarten, Daniel, 2013. "Exporters and the rise in wage inequality: Evidence from German linked employer–employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 201-217.
  6. Giordano Mion & Luca David Opromolla, 2011. "Managers’ Mobility, Trade Status, and Wages," Working Papers w201104, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  7. Kugler, Maurice & Verhoogen, Eric A., 2009. "The Quality-Complementarity Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence from Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 7119, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Pravin Krishna & Jennifer P. Poole & Mine Zeynep Senses, 2011. "Wage Effects of Trade Reform with Endogenous Worker Mobility," NBER Working Papers 17256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luigi Guiso & Fabiano Schivardi, 2007. "Spillovers in Industrial Districts," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 68-93, 01.
  10. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," NBER Working Papers 17991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade Liberalization, Exports and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean Firms," 2009 Meeting Papers 1029, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Amine Ouazad, 2008. "A2REG: Stata module to estimate models with two fixed effects," Statistical Software Components S456942, Boston College Department of Economics.
  13. Davide Castellani & Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2008. "Firms in International Trade: Importers and Exporters Heterogeneity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry," LEM Papers Series 2008/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  14. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Do exporters really pay higher wages? First evidence from German linked employer-employee data," Working Paper Series in Economics 28, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  15. Judith A. Frias & David S. Kaplan & Eric Verhoogen, 2012. "Exports and Within-Plant Wage Distributions: Evidence from Mexico," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 435-40, May.
  16. Krishna, Pravin & Poole, Jennifer P. & Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2011. "Trade liberalization, firm heterogeneity, and wages : new evidence from matched employer-employee data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5711, The World Bank.
  17. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2009. "Firm Heterogeneity And The Labor Market Effects Of Trade Liberalization," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 187-216, 02.
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Cited by:
  1. Jože P. Damijan & Luca Marcolin, 2013. "Global firms and wages: is there a rent sharing channel?," Working Papers 164, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist.
  2. Accetturo, Antonio & Bugamelli, Matteo & Lamorgese, Andrea R., 2013. "Skill upgrading and exports," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 417-420.
  3. Card, David & Cardoso, Ana Rute & Kline, Patrick, 2013. "Bargaining and the Gender Wage Gap: A Direct Assessment," IZA Discussion Papers 7592, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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