The Impact of Production Fragmentation on Industry Skill Upgrading: New Evidence from Japanese Manufacturing
This paper examines the hypothesis that industries engaged in international fragmentation of production experience greater skill upgrading using a panel dataset of Japanese manufacturing over the period 1980-2000. The novelty of the study comes from the use of an index newly constructed using data on trade in parts and components to measure inter-industry variations in the degree of international vertical specialization (fragmentation intensity of trade). It also employs a methodology designed to embody peculiarities of Japan's fragmentation trade pattern. While the findings of existing studies are inconclusive, we find that the expansion of fragmentation trade with developing East Asian countries has had a significant impact on the skills composition of Japanese manufacturing employment. By contrast, trade with high income countries seems to have had a skill downgrading effect.
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