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Why Ex(Im)porters Pay More: Evidence from Matched Firm-Worker Panels

  • Martins, Pedro S.


    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Opromolla, Luca David


    (Banco de Portugal)

We investigate the relationship between exporting, importing, and wage premia using a rich matched employer-employee data set. We improve on the previous literature (i) by using a new methodology to quantify the contribution of an extensive set of worker- and firm-level observable and unobservable characteristics to the wage gap, and (ii) by controlling for the import as well as the export activity of the firm. These two innovations allow us to avoid large biases that characterized the previous literature. A robust result is that the hiring policy of exporters is quite different than the one of importers. While firm size and sales are, to different extents, important components of the wage gap both for exporters and importers, importers hire workers that are overwhelmingly more able than the average. Workers at exporting firms, on the contrary, are no different in terms of unobserved time-invariant characteristics. Our analysis provides a useful guidance for recent theories that aim at explaining participation both in export and import markets and at including non-neoclassical labor market features into trade models.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6013.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6013
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  1. Guimaraes, Paulo & Portugal, Pedro, 2009. "A Simple Feasible Alternative Procedure to Estimate Models with High-Dimensional Fixed Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 3935, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  3. Carneiro, Anabela & Guimaraes, Paulo & Portugal, Pedro, 2009. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle: Accounting for Worker and Firm Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 4174, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Irarrazabal, Alfonso & Moxnes, Andreas & Opromolla, Luca David, 2009. "The Margins of Multinational Production and the Role of Intra-firm trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7145, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Dismissals for cause: The difference that just eight paragraphs can make," Working Papers 24, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
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  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. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
  18. 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.
  19. Munch, Jakob Roland & Rose Skaksen, Jan, 2009. "Human Capital and Wages in Exporting Firms," Working Papers 09-2006, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
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  23. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
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  26. Alfonso Irarrazabal & Andreas Moxnes & Karen Helene Ulltveit-Moe, 2013. "Heterogeneous Firms or Heterogeneous Workers? Implications for Exporter Premiums and the Gains from Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 839-849, July.
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