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

  • Macis, Mario

    ()

    (Johns Hopkins University)

  • Schivardi, Fabiano

    ()

    (Bocconi University)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6466.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6466
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  1. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2006. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," Working Papers 549, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. 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.
  3. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade liberalization, exports and technology upgrading: Evidence on the impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean firms," Economics Working Papers 1173, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Amine Ouazad, 2008. "A2REG: Stata module to estimate models with two fixed effects," Statistical Software Components S456942, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Kugler, Maurice & Verhoogen, Eric, 2009. "The Quality-Complementarity Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence from Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 3932, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Cosar, Kerem & Guner, Nezih & Tybout, James R, 2013. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 9732, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Oleg Itskhoki & Elhanan Helpman, 2008. "Labor Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," 2008 Meeting Papers 690, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. S. Iranzo & F. Schivardi & E. Tosetti, 2006. "Skill dispersion and firm productivity: an analysis with employer-employee matched data," Working Paper CRENoS 200617, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  9. Stephen Redding & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Elhanan Helpman, 2012. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," 2012 Meeting Papers 135, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Bugamelli, Matteo & Schivardi, Fabiano & Zizza, Roberta, 2010. "The Euro and Firm Restructuring," CEPR Discussion Papers 7623, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Luigi Guiso & Fabiano Schivardi, 2007. "Spillovers in Industrial Districts," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 68-93, 01.
  14. 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.
  15. Judith A. Frias & David S. Kaplan & Eric Verhoogen, 2012. "Exports and Within-Plant Wage Distributions: Evidence from Mexico," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 435-40, May.
  16. 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.
  17. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2007. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labour Market Effects of Trade Liberalisation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2000, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. David Hummels & Rasmus Jørgensen & Jakob R. Munch & Chong Xiang, 2011. "The Wage Effects of Offshoring: Evidence from Danish Matched Worker-Firm Data," NBER Working Papers 17496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
  22. Mion, Giordano & Opromolla, Luca David, 2011. "Managers' Mobility, Trade Status, and Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 8230, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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