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Exports and Wages: Rent Sharing, Workforce Composition or Returns to Skills?

Author

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  • M. Macis
  • F. Schivardi

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Abstract

We use linked employer-employee data from Italy to explore the relationship between exports and wages. Our empirical strategy exploits the 1992 devaluation of the Italian Lira, which represented a large and unforeseen shock to Italian firms' incentives to export. The results indicate that the export wage premium is due to exporting firms both (1) paying a wage premium above what their workers would earn in the outside labor market – the "rent-sharing" effect, and (2) employing workers whose skills command a higher price after the devaluation – the "skill composition" effect. The latter effect only emerges once we allow for the value of individual skills to differ in the pre-and post-devaluation periods. In fact, using a fixed measure of skills, as typically done in the literature, we would attribute the wage increase only to rent sharing. We also document that the export wage premium is larger for workers with more export-related experience. This indicates that the devaluation increased the demand for skills more useful for exporting, driving their relative price up.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Macis & F. Schivardi, 2012. "Exports and Wages: Rent Sharing, Workforce Composition or Returns to Skills?," Working Paper CRENoS 201208, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  • Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:201208
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2014. "Export and import market-specific characteristics," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 1467-1496, December.
    2. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:12:p:2676-2703 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Internationalisation and performance at the firm-level: what we learn from Italy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 475-509, December.
    4. Michele Raitano & Francesco Vona, 2017. "Competition, firm size and returns to skills: Evidence from currency shocks and market liberalisations," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(12), pages 2676-2703, December.
    5. Francesco Aiello & Graziella Bonanno & Alessia Via, 2015. "Again on trade elasticities: evidence from a selected sample of countries," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(2), pages 259-287, December.
    6. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Foreign exposure and heterogeneous performance of Italian firms: A survey of the empirical literature (1992-2014)," Working Papers 300, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2015.

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    Keywords

    linked employer employee data; export wage premium;

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