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Skill Upgrading and the Real Exchange Rate

  • Roberto Álvarez
  • Ricardo A. López

This paper examines the effect of changes in the real exchange rate on skill upgrading in the case of Chile. Using plant-level data from the manufacturing sector we find that a real depreciation increases the share of skilled workers in the total wage bill in exporters but not in non-exporters. This result suggests that depreciations or, more generally, increases in export profitability, may induce exporters to adopt more skilled-intensive technologies. This finding gives support to recent models of trade that highlight the possible effect of the real exchange rate on skill upgrading and wage inequality. This paper also finds that real depreciations increase plants’ export intensity, suggesting that skill upgrading for already exporters is the channel through which real exchange depreciations affect wage inequality.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 519.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:519
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  1. Gonzaga, Gustavo & Menezes Filho, Naércio Aquino & Terra, Maria Cristina T., 2005. "Trade Liberalization and the Evolution of Skill Earnings Differentials in Brazil," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 585, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
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  8. Pabo Sanguinetti & Sebastian Galiani, 2003. "The impact of trade liberalizationon wage inequality:Evidence from Argentina," Department of Economics Working Papers 011, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
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  11. Leamer, Edward E. & Maul, Hugo & Rodriguez, Sergio & Schott, Peter K., 1999. "Does natural resource abundance increase Latin American income inequality?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 3-42, June.
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  23. Susan Chun Zhu, 2004. "Trade, product cycles, and inequality within and between countries," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1042-1060, November.
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  25. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
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