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Trade liberalization and relative employment: further evidence from Tunisia

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  • Lanouar Charfeddine
  • Zouhair Mrabet

Abstract

There are increasing studies that address the skill upgrading in developing countries. The theoretical analyses yield different results about which factors affect skill upgrading. The impact of trade openness and technology transfer on the relative demand for skilled labor remains a puzzle, the issue is mainly empirical questions. The empirical findings surrounding this question are in total contradiction with the prediction of traditional trade theory. This paper addresses this puzzle for the Tunisian economy by considering a database covering 12 Tunisian sectors for the period of 1983–2010. Empirical results indicate that trade openness positively affects relative demand of skilled labor. Empirical results also show that the effects of technological change induced by trade on relative demand of skilled labor are ambiguous. First, technology change has positive effects mediated via export channels, this is an evidence of the ‘’learning by exporting’’ channel. Second, technology change has a negative effect mediated via imports. These empirical findings have important economic implications; for instance Tunisian economic policy should be oriented to improve a firm’s competitiveness and labor market capacity to minimize the cost of trade liberalization in terms of employment losses mainly for unskilled workers. Copyright Eurasia Business and Economics Society 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Lanouar Charfeddine & Zouhair Mrabet, 2015. "Trade liberalization and relative employment: further evidence from Tunisia," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(1), pages 173-202, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eurasi:v:5:y:2015:i:1:p:173-202
    DOI: 10.1007/s40821-015-0020-6
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    Cited by:

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    3. Biswajit Mandal & Sugata Marjit & Noritsugu Nakanishi, 2018. "Outsourcing, factor prices and skill formation in countries with non-overlapping time zones," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 8(2), pages 289-304, August.
    4. Kent Eliasson & Pär Hansson & Markus Lindvert, 2017. "Effects of foreign acquisitions on R&D and high-skill activities," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 163-187, June.
    5. Arnd Kölling & Antje Mertens, 2022. "Export activities and the demand for skills in German businesses," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 189-223, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wages inequalities; Technology change; Skill upgrading; Dynamic panel data model; F16; J23; J24; O33; C2;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • C2 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables

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