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Trade, technology, and China's rising skill demand1

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  • Bin Xu
  • Wei Li

Abstract

China has experienced rising wage inequality due to rising relative demand for skilled labour. In this paper, we use a sample of 1,500 firms to investigate the impact of trade and technology on China's rising skill demand. We find that export expansion had a negative direct effect (Heckscher–Ohlin type) and a positive indirect effect (export‐induced skill‐biased technical change) on skill demand; the net effect was found positive and accounted for 5 percent of rising skill demand of the sample firms. We find that technical change in Chinese firms was on average skill‐neutral, but majority foreign‐owned firms experienced skill‐biased technical progress that accounted for 22 percent of the rising skill demand of the sample firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Bin Xu & Wei Li, 2008. "Trade, technology, and China's rising skill demand1," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(1), pages 59-84, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:16:y:2008:i:1:p:59-84
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0351.2007.00314.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Fu, Dahai & Wu, Yanrui, 2013. "Export wage premium in China's manufacturing sector: A firm level analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 182-196.
    2. LEE, Jong-Wha & Wie, Dainn, 2017. "Wage Structure and Gender Earnings Differentials in China and India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 313-329.
    3. Ying Ge & Tony Fang & Yeheng Jiang, 2019. "Access to imported intermediates and intra‐firm wage inequality," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(8), pages 2364-2384, August.
    4. Zhou, Yixiao & Tyers, Rod, 2019. "Automation and inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
    5. Lihua Zhang & Tian Gan & Jiachen Fan, 2023. "Do industrial robots affect the labour market? Evidence from China," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 31(3), pages 787-817, July.
    6. Mehmet Ugur & Sefa Awaworyi Churchill & Edna Solomon, 2018. "Technological Innovation And Employment In Derived Labour Demand Models: A Hierarchical Meta†Regression Analysis," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(1), pages 50-82, February.
    7. Chen, Bo, 2017. "Upstreamness, exports, and wage inequality: Evidence from Chinese manufacturing data," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 66-74.
    8. Hongbing Li & Hongbo Cai & Suparna Chakraborty, 2019. "Market Access, Labor Mobility, and the Wage Skill Premium: New Evidence from Chinese Cities," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 30(5), pages 947-973, November.
    9. Wang, Wenxiao & Thangavelu, Shandre & Lin, Faqin, 2021. "Global value chains, firms, and wage inequality: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    10. Xu, Yun & Ouyang, Alice Y., 2017. "Tariffs, relative prices and wage inequality: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 97-109.

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