IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Labor market institutions, firm-specific skills, and trade patterns

  • Tang, Heiwai

This paper studies how a country's labor market institutions, by affecting workers' skill acquisition, can shape its export patterns. I develop an open-economy model in which workers undertake non-contractible activities to acquire firm-specific skills on the job. In the model, labor market protection raises workers' incentives to acquire firm-specific skills relative to general skills, turning labor laws into a source of comparative advantage. In particular, the model shows that countries with more protective labor laws export relatively more in firm-specific skill-intensive sectors at both the intensive and extensive margins. To test the theoretical predictions, I construct sector proxies for the firm-specific and industry-specific skill intensity by estimating returns to firm tenure and industry tenure for different U.S. manufacturing sectors during the 1974–1993 period. By estimating sector-level gravity equations for 84 countries using the Helpman–Melitz–Rubinstein (2008) framework, I find evidence supporting the predicted effects of labor market institutions at both margins of exports.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022199612000025
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 87 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 337-351

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:87:y:2012:i:2:p:337-351
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2012.01.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 3196327, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Arnaud Costinot, 2009. "An Elementary Theory of Comparative Advantage," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1165-1192, 07.
  3. R. Dornbusch & S. Fischer & P. A. Samuelson, 1976. "Comparative Advantage, Trade and Payments in a Ricardian Model With a Continuum of Goods," Working papers 178, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg & Redding, Stephen, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Scholarly Articles 25586656, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Manova, Kalina, 2008. "Credit constraints, equity market liberalizations and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 33-47, September.
  6. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz, 1989. "Layoffs and Lemons," Working Papers 629, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  8. Chor, Davin, 2010. "Unpacking sources of comparative advantage: A quantitative approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 152-167, November.
  9. Lars A. Stole & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 916-943, June.
  11. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  12. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, "undated". "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  13. Moshe Buchinsky & Denis Fougère & Francis Kramarz & Rusty Tchernis, 2002. "Interfirm Mobility, Wages and the Returns to Seniority and Experience in the U.S," Working Papers 2002-29, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  14. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Masten, Scott E. & Meehan, James Jr. & Snyder, Edward A., 1989. "Vertical integration in the U.S. auto industry : A note on the influence of transaction specific assets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 265-273, October.
  17. Carl Davidson & Steven J. Matusz, 2006. "Long-run Lunacy, Short-run Sanity: a Simple Model of Trade with Labor Market Turnover," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 261-276, 05.
  18. Belot, M.V.K. & Boone, J. & van Ours, J.C., 2007. "Welfare improving employment protection," Other publications TiSEM eee2f823-1384-4a2f-a4eb-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  19. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1997. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 6010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Spector, David, 2004. "Competition and the capital-labor conflict," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 25-38, February.
  21. Costinot, Arnaud, 2009. "On the origins of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 255-264, April.
  22. Alejandro Cuñat & Marc J. Melitz, 2010. "A Many-Country, Many-Good Model of Labor Market Rigidities as a Source of Comparative Advantage," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 434-441, 04-05.
  23. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
  24. Christian Dustmann & Costas Meghir, 2001. "Wages, experience and seniority," IFS Working Papers W01/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  25. Rachel Griffith & Rupert Harrison & Gareth Macartney, 2007. "Product Market Reforms, Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages C142-C166, 03.
  26. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-586, June.
  27. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
  28. Malcomson, J.M., 1997. "Contracts, hold-up and labor markets," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9703, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  29. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, "undated". "Macroeconomic effects of regulation and deregulation in goods and labor markets," Working Papers 187, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  30. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-161, January.
  31. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
  32. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio LopezdeSilanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2000. "The Regulation of Entry," NBER Working Papers 7892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-620, September.
  34. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
  35. Robert H. Topel, 1990. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," NBER Working Papers 3294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  37. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  38. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-1721, September.
  40. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon H. & Robinson, James A., 2003. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutioanl Change and Economic Growth," Working papers 4269-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  41. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Scholarly Articles 25586655, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  42. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1997. "Is labour rigidity harming Europe's competitiveness? The effect of job protection on the pattern of trade and welfare," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 499-506, April.
  43. Iourii Manovskii & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2004. "Occupational Specificity of Human Capital," 2004 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  44. Pol Antràs, 2005. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1054-1073, September.
  45. Roberts, John & Van den Steen, Eric, 2000. "Shareholder Interests, Human Capital Investment and Corporate Governance," Research Papers 1631, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  46. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  47. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932.
  48. Andrei A Levchenko, 2004. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," IMF Working Papers 04/231, International Monetary Fund.
  49. Richard A. Brecher, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116.
  50. Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2007. "Comparative advantage, demand for external finance, and financial development," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 796-834, December.
  51. Acemoglu, D. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Working papers 97-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  52. Kirk Monteverde & David J. Teece, 1982. "Supplier Switching Costs and Vertical Integration in the Automobile Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 206-213, Spring.
  53. Davis, Steven J. & Haltiwanger, John, 1999. "Gross job flows," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2711-2805 Elsevier.
  54. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Wages, Unemployment and Inequality with Heterogeneous Firms and Workers," NBER Working Papers 14122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  56. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
  57. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  58. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  59. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 437-459.
  60. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  61. Matusz, Steven J, 1996. "International Trade, the Division of Labor, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 71-84, February.
  62. Donald R. Davis & James Harrigan, 2007. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, and Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 13139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  63. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  64. Kletzer, Lori Gladstein, 1989. "Returns to Seniority after Permanent Job Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 536-543, June.
  65. Etienne Wasmer, 2006. "General versus Specific Skills in Labor Markets with Search Frictions and Firing Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 811-831, June.
  66. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-494, June.
  67. Felipe Balmaceda, 2005. "Firm-Sponsored General Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 115-134, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:87:y:2012:i:2:p:337-351. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.