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Higher Wages in Exporting Firms: Self-Selection, Export Effect, or Both? First Evidence from German Linked Employer-Employee Data

  • Schank, Thorsten


    (University of Mainz)

  • Schnabel, Claus


    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Wagner, Joachim


    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

While it is a stylized fact that exporting firms pay higher wages than non-exporting firms, the direction of the link between exporting and wages is less clear. Using a rich set of German linked employer-employee panel data we follow over time plants that start to export. We show that the exporter wage premium does already exist in the years before firms start to export, and that it does not increase in the following years. Higher wages in exporting firms are thus due to self-selection of more productive, better paying firms into export markets; they are not caused by export activities.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3359.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of World Economics, 2010, 146 (2), 303-322
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3359
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  1. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  2. Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2007. "Do exporters really pay higher wages? First evidence from German linked employer-employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 52-74, May.
  3. Joachim Wagner, 2007. "Exports and Productivity: A Survey of the Evidence from Firm-level Data," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 60-82, 01.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  6. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bernard, A. & Wagner, J., 1996. "Exports and Success in German Manufacturing," Working papers 96-10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The causal effects of exports on firm size and labor productivity: first evidence from a matching approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 287-292, October.
  9. Joachim Wagner, 2007. "Exports and Productivity ?Comparable Evidence for 14 Countries," LICOS Discussion Papers 19207, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  10. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  11. Alda, Holger & Bender, Stefan & Gartner, Hermann, 2005. "The linked employer-employee dataset of the IAB (LIAB)," IAB Discussion Paper 200506, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  12. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  14. Munch, Jakob Roland & Rose Skaksen, Jan, 2009. "Human Capital and Wages in Exporting Firms," Working Papers 09-2006, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  15. International Study Group on Exports and Productivity (ISGEP), 2008. "Understanding Cross-Country Differences in Exporter Premia: Comparable Evidence for 14 Countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 144(4), pages 596-635, December.
  16. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2009. "Firm Heterogeneity And The Labor Market Effects Of Trade Liberalization," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 187-216, 02.
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