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

  • Macis, Mario
  • Schivardi, Fabiano

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8931.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8931
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  1. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," NBER Working Papers 17991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Paula Bustos, 2011. "Trade Liberalization, Exports, and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinian Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 304-40, February.
  3. Matteo Bugamelli & Fabiano Schivardi & Roberta Zizza, 2009. "The euro and firm restructuring," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 716, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Davide Castellani & Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2008. "Firms in International Trade: Importers and Exporters Heterogeneity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry," LEM Papers Series 2008/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  5. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2007. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labour Market Effects of Trade Liberalisation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2000, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Finicelli, Andrea & Liccardi, Alessandra & Sbracia, Massimo, 2005. "A New Indicator of Competitiveness for Italy and the Main Industrial and Emerging Countries," MPRA Paper 4703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Pravin Krishna & Jennifer P. Poole & Mine Zeynep Senses, 2011. "Wage Effects of Trade Reform with Endogenous Worker Mobility," NBER Working Papers 17256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Maurice Kugler & Eric Verhoogen, 2008. "The Quality-Complementarity Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence from Colombia," NBER Working Papers 14418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Frías, Judith A & Kaplan, David & Verhoogen, Eric A, 2012. "Exports and Within-Plant Wage Distributions: Evidence from Mexico," CEPR Discussion Papers 8835, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Amine Ouazad, 2008. "A2REG: Stata module to estimate models with two fixed effects," Statistical Software Components S456942, Boston College Department of Economics.
  11. Giordano Mion & Luca David Opromolla, 2011. "Managers’ Mobility, Trade Status, and Wages," Working Papers w201104, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  12. Daniel Baumgarten, 2010. "Exporters and the Rise in Wage Inequality – Evidence from German Linked Employer-Employee Data," Ruhr Economic Papers 0217, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  13. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
  14. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2009. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 14632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Krishna, Pravin & Poole, Jennifer P. & Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2011. "Trade liberalization, firm heterogeneity, and wages : new evidence from matched employer-employee data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5711, The World Bank.
  16. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Do exporters really pay higher wages? First evidence from German linked employer-employee data," Working Paper Series in Economics 28, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  17. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  18. Luigi Guiso & Fabiano Schivardi, 2007. "Spillovers in Industrial Districts," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 68-93, 01.
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