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The Role of Globalization in the Within-Industry Shift Away from Unskilled Workers in France

In: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics


  • Vanessa Strauss-Kahn


Growth in international trade and globalization has been correlated in nearly all countries with a worsening of the less skilled labor situation relative to the skilled. In this empirical paper, I show that an important component of recent globalization in France has been a huge growth in vertical specialization -- the completion of the different production stages of a good in different countries. By shifting relative labor demand across countries, globalization of this form could explain the poor relative showing of unskilled labor in industrial countries. Using input-output tables and labor data, I find that in France vertical specialization -- defined as the share of imported inputs in production -- rose from 9% in 1977 to 14% in 1993. Further estimations show that vertical specialization contributed from 11% to 15% of the decline in the share of unskilled workers in French manufacturing employment for the 1977-1985 period and for 25% of the decline in the 1985-1993 period.
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  • Vanessa Strauss-Kahn, 2004. "The Role of Globalization in the Within-Industry Shift Away from Unskilled Workers in France," NBER Chapters,in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 209-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9539

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jose Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The evolving external orientation of manufacturing: a profile of four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 53-81.
    2. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
    3. Anxo, Dominique & Sterner, Thomas, 1994. "Using electricity data to measure capital utilization," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 63-74, January.
    4. Machin, Steve & Van Reenen, John, 1996. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from an International Panel of Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1434, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," NBER Working Papers 5121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 67-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. David L. Hummels & Dana Rapoport & Kei-Mu Yi, 1998. "Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 79-99.
    8. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    9. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
    10. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
    11. Olivier Cortès & Sébastien Jean, 1997. "Quel est l'impact du commerce extérieur sur la productivité et l'emploi ?," Working Papers 1997-08, CEPII research center.
    12. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    13. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
    14. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
    15. Strauss-Kahn, Vanessa, 2005. "Firms' location decision across asymmetric countries and employment inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 299-320, February.
    16. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The Evolving External Orientation of Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 5919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions


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