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Exporters, skill upgrading, and the wage gap

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  • Bernard, Andrew B.
  • Jensen, J. Bradford

Abstract

This paper examines plant level evidence on the increase in demand for non-production workers in U.S. manufacturing during the 1980's. The major finding is that increases in employment at exporting plants contribute heavily to the observed increase in relative demand for skilled labor in manufacturing during the period. Exporters account for almost all of the increase in the wage gap between high and low-skilled workers. Tests of the competing theories with plant level data show that demand changes associated with increased exports are strongly associated with the wage gap increases. Increases in plant technology are determinants of within plant skill-upgrading but not of the aggregate wage gap rise.
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  • Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford, 1997. "Exporters, skill upgrading, and the wage gap," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 3-31, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:42:y:1997:i:1-2:p:3-31
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    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
    2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Stephen Nickell & D Nicolitsas, 1994. "Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0219, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
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