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Trade with China and Skill Upgrading: Evidence from Belgian Firm Level Data

Author

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  • Giordano Mion
  • Hylke Vandenbussche
  • Linke Zhu

Abstract

We use Belgian rm-level data over the period 1996-2007 to analyze the impact of im- ports from China and other low-wage countries on rm growth, exit, and skill upgrading in manufacturing. For this purpose we use both industry-level and rm-level imports by country of origin and distinguish between rm-level outsourcing of nal versus intermediate goods. Results indicate that, both industry-level import competition and rm-level outsourcing to China reduce rm employment growth and induce skill upgrading. In contrast, industry-level imports have no e ect on Belgian rm survival, while rm-level outsourcing of nished goods to China even increased rm's probability of survival. In terms of skill upgrading, the e ect of Chinese imports is large. Industry import competition from China accounts for 42% of the within rm increase in the share of skilled workers in Belgian manufacturing over the period of our analysis, but this e ect, as well as the employment reducing e ect, remains mainly in low- tech industries. Firm-level outsourcing to China further accounts for a small but signi cant increase in the share of non-production workers. This change in employment structure is in line with predictions of o shoring models and Schott's (2008) 'moving up the quality ladder' story. All these results are robust to IV estimation.

Suggested Citation

  • Giordano Mion & Hylke Vandenbussche & Linke Zhu, 2009. "Trade with China and Skill Upgrading: Evidence from Belgian Firm Level Data," LICOS Discussion Papers 24809, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  • Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:24809
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marijn Verschelde & Michel Dumont & Bruno Merlevede & Glenn Rayp, 2014. "A constrained nonparametric regression analysis of factor-biased technical change and TFP growth at the firm level," Working Paper Research 266, National Bank of Belgium.
    2. Julien Martin & Isabelle Méjean, 2011. "Low-wage countries' competition, reallocation across firms and the quality content of exports," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-00962485, HAL.
    3. Maria Bas & Pamela Bombarda, 2011. "Unilateral trade reform, Market Access and Foreign Competition: the Patterns of Multi-Product Exporters," Working Papers 2011-18, CEPII research center.
    4. Thomas Kemeny & David Rigby, 2012. "Trading away what kind of jobs? Globalization, trade and tasks in the US economy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(1), pages 1-16, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    import competition; outsourcing; China; skill upgrading;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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