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The Opening Up of Eastern Europe at 20-Jobs, Skills, and ‘Reverse Maquiladoras’ in Austria and Germany

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  • Marin, Dalia

Abstract

Many people in the European Union fear that Eastern Enlargement leads to major job losses. More recently, these fears about job losses have extended to high skill labor and IT jobs. The paper examines with unique firm level data whether these fears are justified for the two neighboring countries of Eastern Enlargement Austria and Germany. We find that Eastern Enlargement leads to surprising small job losses of less than 0.5 percent of total employment in Germany and of 1.5 percent in Austria, because jobs in Eastern Europe do not compete with jobs in Austria and Germany. Low cost jobs of affiliates in Eastern Europe help Austrian and German firms to stay competitive in an increasingly competitive environment. However, we also find that multinational firms in Austria and Germany are outsourcing skill intensive activities to Eastern Europe taking advantage of cheap abundant skilled labor there. We find that the firms’ outsourcing activities to Eastern Europe are a response to a human capital scarcity in Austria and Germany which has become particularly severe in the 1990s. We indeed find a reverse pattern of ‘Maquiladoras’ emerging with Eastern Enlargement in Austria and Germany compared to what economists have found for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Skilled workers in Austria and Germany are losing from outsourcing. In both countries outsourcing contributes 35 percent and 41 percent, respectively, to changes in relative wages for skilled workers in Austria and Germany. To address the skill exodus to Eastern Europe we suggest liberalizing the movement of high skill labor.

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File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11435/1/EasternEnlargementHandbook.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 11435.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:11435

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Keywords: human capital; intra-firm trade; multinationals and jobs; outsourcing to Eastern Europe; R&D policy;

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  1. 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.
  2. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Globalization and the empowerment of talent," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 209-223.
  3. Fersterer, Josef & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1999. "Are Austrian Returns to Education Falling Over Time?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2313, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Scholarly Articles 3445092, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Braconier, Henrik & Ekholm, Karolina, 1999. "Swedish Multinationals and Competition from High- and Low-Wage Locations," Working Paper Series 523, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Helmut Hofer & Karl Pichelmann & Andreas-Ulrich Schuh, 2001. "Price and quantity adjustments in the Austrian labour market," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(5), pages 581-592.
  7. David Hummels & Jun Ishii & Kei-Mu Yi, 1999. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Staff Reports 72, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Expansion Strategies of U.S. Multinational Firms," BEA Papers 0012, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
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