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Globalization and Employment: Imported Skill Biased Technological Change in Developing Countries


  • Conte, Andrea

    () (European Commission)

  • Vivarelli, Marco

    () (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)


This paper discusses the occurrence of Skill-Enhancing Technology Import (SETI), namely the relationship between imports of embodied technology and widening skill-based employment differentials in a sample of low and middle income countries (LMICs). In doing so, this paper provides a direct measure of technology transfer at the sector level from high income countries (HICs), namely those economies which have already experienced the occurrence of skill-biased technological change, to LMICs. GMM techniques are applied to an original panel dataset comprising 28 manufacturing sectors for 23 countries over a decade. Econometric results provide robust evidence of the determinants of widening employment differentials in LMICs. In particular, capital-skill complementarity represents a source of relative skill-bias while SETI provides an absolute skill-bias effect on the employment trends of skilled and unskilled workers witnessed in these countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Conte, Andrea & Vivarelli, Marco, 2007. "Globalization and Employment: Imported Skill Biased Technological Change in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2797, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2797

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    6. Munich, Daniel & Svejnar, Jan & Terrell, Katherine, 2005. "Is women's human capital valued more by markets than by planners?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 278-299, June.
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    8. Juan J. Dolado & Vanesa Llorens, 2004. "Gender Wage Gaps By Education In Spain: Glass Floors Vs. Glass Ceilings," Working Papers wp2004_03, CEMFI.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schulte, Patrick, 2015. "Does skill-biased technical change diffuse internationally?," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-088, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Meschi, Elena & Vivarelli, Marco, 2007. "Globalization and Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 2958, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Nathalie Chusseau & Joël Hellier, 2012. "Inequality in Emerging Countries," Working Papers hal-00993411, HAL.
    4. Yen, Meng-Feng, 2013. "The Wage Premium and Market Structure: The Case of South Korea and Taiwan," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151292, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Ilina Srour & Erol Taymaz & Marco Vivarelli, 2014. "Globalization, Technology and Skills: Evidence from Turkish Longitudinal Microdata," ERC Working Papers 1405, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Jun 2014.
    6. Meschi, Elena & Taymaz, Erol & Vivarelli, Marco, 2011. "Trade, technology and skills: Evidence from Turkish microdata," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages 60-70.
    7. Sirine MNIF, 2016. "Skill biased technological changes: Case of the MENA Region," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(3(608), A), pages 339-350, Autumn.
    8. Muhammad Tariq Majeed & Ronald MacDonald, 2010. "Distributional and Poverty Consequences of Globalization: A Dynamic Comparative Analysis for Developing Countries," Working Papers 2010_22, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    9. Zuniga, Pluvia & Crespi, Gustavo, 2013. "Innovation strategies and employment in Latin American firms," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 1-17.
    10. Srour, Ilina & Taymaz, Erol & Vivarelli, Marco, 2013. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Skill-Enhancing Trade in Turkey: Evidence from Longitudinal Microdata," IZA Discussion Papers 7320, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Nathalie Scholl, 2015. "The Impact of Trade on Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: Technology vs. Comparative Advantage," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 190, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    12. Facundo Alvaredo & Leonardo Gasparini, 2013. "Recent Trends in Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0151, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    13. Sami SAAFI, 2009. "Innovations technologiques, mobilité et demande de main-d’oeuvre qualifiée. Une analyse des industries tunisiennes (Technological innovations, mobility and skilled-labour deamnd : an analysis of tunis," Working Papers 206, Laboratoire de Recherche sur l'Industrie et l'Innovation. ULCO / Research Unit on Industry and Innovation.
    14. Meschi, Elena & Vivarelli, Marco, 2009. "Trade and Income Inequality in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 287-302, February.
    15. Gianluca Grimalda & Marco Vivarelli, 2010. "Is inequality the price to pay for higher growth in middle-income countries?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 265-306, April.
    16. Sirine MNIF, 2016. "Skill biased technological changes: Case of the MENA Region," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(3(608), A), pages 339-350, Autumn.
    17. Aissaoui, Najeh & Ben Hassen, Lobna, 2015. "Skill-biased Technological Change, E-skills and Wage Inequality: Evidence from Tunisia," MPRA Paper 76551, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Jun 2015.
    19. Meschi, Elena & Taymaz, Erol & Vivarelli, Marco, 2016. "Globalisation, technology and the labour market: A microeconometric analysis for Turkey," MERIT Working Papers 026, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    20. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-504 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Zouhair MRABET & Lanouar CHARFEDDINE, 2013. "Trade Liberalization, Technology Import And Employment: Evidence Of Skill Upgrading In The Tunisian Context," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 37, pages 11-36.
    22. Lanouar Charfeddine & Zouhair Mrabet, 2015. "Trade liberalization and relative employment: further evidence from Tunisia," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(1), pages 173-202, June.

    More about this item


    world trade analyzer; general industrial statistics; skill biased technological change; capital skill complementarity; GMM estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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