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Trade in services : IT and task content

Author

Listed:
  • Andrea Ariu

    () (Université catholique de Louvain, IRES
    Université catholique de Louvain, CORE
    University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics (FELU), Slovenia)

  • Giordano Mion

    () (London School of Economics, Department of Geography and Environment
    Author-Workplace-Name: National Bank of Belgium, Research Department
    CEP, UK
    CEPR, UK)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the determinants of the dramatic increase in services tradability focusing on the extensive margin of the phenomenon. We use balance sheet and firm-level service trade information over the period 1995-2005 provided by the National Bank of Belgium and we merge it with information on the evolution of information technology use and tasks performed by workers from the qualification and career survey provided by the BIBB-IAB. We show that technological change, measured either by the more intensive use of information technologies or by changes in the task content of jobs, has substantially contributed to the increase in the number of service-trading firms. Interestingly, we find evidence of a churning effect. While technological change has induced net entry into service trading, it has also increased the likelihood of both gross entry and exit of firms. Furthermore, our evidence suggests that due to the peculiar nature of services provision, the change in the tasks content of jobs is a better measure of technological change than the use of information technologies. Our results are robust to controlling for service trade liberalization and offshoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Ariu & Giordano Mion, 2010. "Trade in services : IT and task content," Working Paper Research 200, National Bank of Belgium.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201010-200
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    File URL: https://www.nbb.be/doc/oc/repec/reswpp/wp200en.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Becker, Sascha O. & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2013. "Offshoring and the onshore composition of tasks and skills," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 91-106.
    2. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    3. Joseph Francois & Bernard Hoekman, 2010. "Services Trade and Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 642-692, September.
    4. Bernard Hoekman, 2008. "The General Agreement on Trade in Services: Doomed to Fail? Does it Matter?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 295-318, December.
    5. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-1997, December.
    6. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
    7. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1996. "With What Skills Are Computers a Complement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 258-262, May.
    8. Caroline Freund & Diana Weinhold, 2002. "The Internet and International Trade in Services," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 236-240, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Federico & Enrico Tosti, 2017. "Exporters and Importers of Services: Firm-Level Evidence on Italy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(10), pages 2078-2096, October.
    2. Baldwin, Richard, 2011. "21st century regionalism: Filling the gap between 21st century trade and 20th century trade rules," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2011-08, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    3. Baldwin, Richard, 2010. "Unilateral tariff liberalisation," CEPR Discussion Papers 8162, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Yvonne Wolfmayr & Elisabeth Christen & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2013. "Pattern, Determinants and Dynamics of Austrian Service Exports – A Firmlevel Analysis," FIW Research Reports series IV-005, FIW.
    5. Martin Borowiecki & Bernhard Dachs & Doris Hanzl-Weiss & Steffen Kinkel & Johannes Pöschl & Magdolna Sass & Thomas Christian Schmall & Robert Stehrer & Andrea Szalavetz, 2012. "Global Value Chains and the EU Industry," wiiw Research Reports 383, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    6. E. Dhyne & L. Dresse & C. Fuss & Ch. Piette, 2011. "Behaviour of Belgian firms in the context of globalisation : lessons from the conference on “International Trade : Threats and Opportunities in a Globalised World”," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue i, pages 73-88, June.
    7. Emanuele Forlani, 2012. "Competition in Services and Efficiency of Manufacturing Firms:Does “Liberalization” Matter?," LICOS Discussion Papers 31112, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade in services; extensive margin; technological change; task content;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • L80 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - General

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