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Machines and machinists: Capital-skill complementarity from an international trade perspective

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  • Márton Csillag
  • Miklós Koren

Abstract

We estimate the effect of imported machines on the wages of machine operators utilizing Hungarian linked employer-employee data. We infer exposure to imported machines from detailed trade statistics of the firm and the occupation description of the worker. We find that workers exposed to imported machines earn about 8 percent higher wages than other machine operators at the same firm. When we proxy for unobserved worker characteristics, we find a significant 3 percent wage premium, suggesting that the relationship is causal. The return to schooling is also higher on imported machines. We build a simple matching model consistent with these findings. Our findings suggest that machine imports can be an important channel through which skill-biased technical change reaches less developed and emerging economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Márton Csillag & Miklós Koren, 2011. "Machines and machinists: Capital-skill complementarity from an international trade perspective," CeFiG Working Papers 13, Center for Firms in the Global Economy, revised 25 Mar 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:cfg:cfigwp:13
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    Cited by:

    1. Mauro Caselli, 2014. "Trade, skill-biased technical change and wages in Mexican manufacturing," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 336-348, January.
    2. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Liang, Yawen & Rodrigue, Joel, 2016. "Does importing intermediates increase the demand for skilled workers? Plant-level evidence from Indonesia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 242-261.
    3. Nico Voigtlaender & Diego Saravia, 2013. "Imported Inputs, Quality Complementarity, and Skill Demand," 2013 Meeting Papers 699, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Juhn, Chinhui & Ujhelyi, Gergely & Villegas-Sanchez, Carolina, 2014. "Men, women, and machines: How trade impacts gender inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 179-193.
    5. Lo Turco, Alessia & Maggioni, Daniela, 2013. "Does Trade Foster Employment Growth in Emerging Markets? Evidence from Turkey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-18.
    6. Giordano, Claire & Lopez-Garcia, Paloma, 2019. "Firm heterogeneity and trade in EU countries: a cross-country analysis," Occasional Paper Series 225, European Central Bank.
    7. Francesco Di Comite & Antonella Nocco & Gianluca Orefice, 2018. "Trade liberalization and the wage gap: the role of vertical linkages and fixed costs," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 154(1), pages 75-115, February.
    8. Chiacchio, Francesco & Gradeva, Katerina & Lopez-Garcia, Paloma, 2018. "The post-crisis TFP growth slowdown in CEE countries: exploring the role of Global Value Chains," Working Paper Series 2143, European Central Bank.
    9. Kézdi, Gábor & Mátyás, László & Balázsi, László & Divényi, János Károly, 2014. "A közgazdasági adatforradalom és a panelökonometria [The revolution in economic data and panel econometrics]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(11), pages 1319-1340.
    10. Gunnella, Vanessa & Al-Haschimi, Alexander & Benkovskis, Konstantins & Chiacchio, Francesco & de Soyres, François & Di Lupidio, Benedetta & Fidora, Michael & Franco-Bedoya, Sebastian & Frohm, Erik & G, 2019. "The impact of global value chains on the euro area economy," Occasional Paper Series 221, European Central Bank.
    11. Békés, Gábor & Halpern, László & Muraközy, Balázs, 2013. "Külkereskedelem és a vállalatok közötti különbségek [Heterogeneous firms and foreign trade]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 1-24.
    12. Francesco Di Comite & Antonella Nocco & Gianluca Orefice, 2014. "Tariff reductions, trade patterns and the wage gap in a monopolistic competition model with vertical linkages," Working Papers 2014-02, CEPII research center.

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    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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