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Who Trades with Whom? Exploring the Links between Firms' International Activities, Skills, and Wages

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  • Francesco Serti
  • Chiara Tomasi
  • Antonello Zanfei

Abstract

Using firm‐level data on the Italian manufacturing industry, we examine how trade activities are related to workforce composition and wages. We contribute to empirical research on these issues in three ways. First, we provide new evidence that is consistent with multi‐attribute models on firm heterogeneity and trade. We show that even after controlling for various company characteristics, including size and capital intensity, exporters still pay higher wages and employ more skilled workers than nonexporters. Second, we consider engagement in international transactions, either by means of exports, imports, or a combination of the two. We show that failing to control for importing activities may bias upward export premia. Third, we look at how the wage and the employment structures of trading firms change with the country of destination and origin of trade flows. We find that wage and skill premia are influenced by the characteristics of partner countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi & Antonello Zanfei, 2010. "Who Trades with Whom? Exploring the Links between Firms' International Activities, Skills, and Wages," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(5), pages 951-971, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:18:y:2010:i:5:p:951-971
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9396.2010.00919.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9396.2010.00919.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2016. "Do Exporters Really Pay Higher Wages? First Evidence from German Linked Employer–Employee Data," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Microeconometrics of International Trade, chapter 5, pages 177-213, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    10. Michele Di Maio & Federico Tamagni, 2008. "The Evolution of World Export Sophistication and the Italian Trade Anomaly," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(1), pages 135-174, January-F.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valeria Gattai & Giorgia Sali, 2016. "FDI and heterogeneous performance of European enterprises," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(1), pages 25-65, March.
    2. Guillou, Sarah & Treibich, Tania, 2017. "Firm Export Diversification and Change in Workforce Composition," Research Memorandum 026, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    3. Sarah Guillou & Tania Treibich, 2019. "Firm export diversification and change in workforce composition," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 155(4), pages 645-676, November.
    4. Valeria Gattai & Valentina Trovato, 2014. "Estimating sourcing premia with Italian regional data," Working Papers 276, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
    5. Dosi, Giovanni & Grazzi, Marco & Moschella, Daniele, 2015. "Technology and costs in international competitiveness: From countries and sectors to firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1795-1814.
    6. Irene Iodice & Chiara Tomasi, 2015. "Skill upgrading, wage gap and international trade: firm-level evidence for Italian manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2015/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    7. Irene Brambilla & Daniel Lederman & Guido Porto, 2019. "Exporting firms and the demand for skilled tasks," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(2), pages 763-783, May.
    8. Marianne Matthee & Neil Rankin & Carli Bezuidenhout, 2017. "Labour demand and the distribution of wages in South African manufacturing exporters," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-11, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Irene Brambilla & Nicolas Depetris Chauvin & Guido Porto, 2015. "Wage and Employment Gains from Exports: Evidence from Developing Countries," Working Papers 2015-28, CEPII research center.
    10. Leila Baghdadi & Sonia Ben Kheder & Hassen Arouri, 2017. "In Search of A New Development Model For Tunisia: Assessing the Performance of the Offshore Regime," Working Papers 1118, Economic Research Forum, revised 07 Jun 2017.
    11. Gattai Valeria & Trovato Valentina, 2016. "Estimating Sourcing Premia Using Italian Regional Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 1029-1067, April.
    12. Tobias Brändle, 2015. "Is offshoring linked to offshoring potential? Evidence from German linked employer–employee data," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 151(4), pages 735-766, November.
    13. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "International trade and firm performance: a survey of empirical studies since 2006," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(2), pages 235-267, June.
    14. Dalgic, Basak & Fazlioglu, Burcu & Gasiorek, Michael, 2015. "Costs of trade and self-selection into exporting and importing: The case of Turkish manufacturing firms," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 9, pages 1-28.
    15. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Internationalisation and performance at the firm-level: what we learn from Italy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 475-509, December.
    16. Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi, 2016. "Indirect exporters and importers," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(2), pages 251-281, May.
    17. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Foreign exposure and heterogeneous performance of Italian firms: A survey of the empirical literature (1992-2014)," Working Papers 300, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2015.
    18. Dalgıç, Başak & Fazlıoğlu, Burcu & Gasiorek, Michael, 2015. "Engagement in Asymmetric Markets: Causes and Consequences," MPRA Paper 63854, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Emanuele Brancati & Raffaele Brancati & Dario Guarascio & Andrea Maresca & Manuel Romagnoli & Antonello Zanfei, 2018. "Firm-level Drivers of Export Performance and External Competitiveness in Italy," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 087, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    20. Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2014. "Export and import market-specific characteristics," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 1467-1496, December.
    21. Marianne Matthee & Neil Rankin & Carli Bezuidenhout, 2017. "Labour demand and the distribution of wages in South African manufacturing exporters," WIDER Working Paper Series 011, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    22. Brancati, Emanuele & Brancati, Raffaele & Guarascio, Dario & Zanfei, Antonello, 2020. "In Times of Trouble: Innovative Drivers of External Competitiveness for Small Businesses during the Great Recession," GLO Discussion Paper Series 639, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    23. Irene Brambilla & Nicolas Depetris Chauvin & Guido Porto, 2017. "Examining the Export Wage Premium in Developing Countries," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 447-475, August.

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