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Exports, Export Destinations, and Skills

  • Irene Brambilla
  • Daniel Lederman
  • Guido Porto

This paper explores the links between exports, export destinations and skill utilization by firms. We identify two mechanisms behind these links, which we integrate into a unified theory of export destinations and skills. First, exporting to high-income countries with higher valuation for quality leads to quality upgrades that are skill-intensive (Verhoogen, 2008). Second, exporting requires services such as distribution, transportation, and advertising, activities that are also intensive in skilled labor (Matsuyama, 2007). Depending on the characteristics of the source country (such as income, language), the theories suggest a skill-bias in export destinations: firms that export to high-income destinations hire more skills and pay higher wages than firms that export to middle-income countries or that sell domestically. We test the theory using a panel of Argentine manufacturing firms. The data cover the period 1998-2000 and span the Brazilian currency devaluation of 1999. We use the exogenous changes in exports and export destinations brought about by this devaluation in a major export partner to identify the causal effect of exporting and of exporting to high-income countries on skill utilization. We find that Argentine firms exporting to high-income countries hired a higher proportion of skilled workers and paid higher average wages than other exporters (to non high-income countries) and domestic firms. Instead, we cannot identify any causal effect of exporting per se on skill utilization.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15995.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15995.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Publication status: published as Irene Brambilla & Daniel Lederman & Guido Porto, 2012. "Exports, Export Destinations, and Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3406-38, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15995
Note: ITI
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  1. Julien Martin, 2010. "Markups, Quality and Transport Costs," Working Papers 2010-17, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  2. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Trade Liberalization," CEP Discussion Papers dp0769, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2009. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 14632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paula Bustos, 2011. "Trade Liberalization, Exports, and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinian Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 304-40, February.
  7. Bastos, Paulo & Silva, Joana, 2010. "The quality of a firm's exports: Where you export to matters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 99-111, November.
  8. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
  9. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2007. "Beyond Icebergs: Towards a Theory of Biased Globalization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 237-253.
  10. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  11. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
  12. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "learning-by-exporting" important? Micro-dynamic evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2010. "A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 453-466, August.
  14. Verhoogen, Eric A, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 6385, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Amit Khandelwal, 2007. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," 2007 Meeting Papers 244, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. De Loecker, Jan, 2007. "Do exports generate higher productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 69-98, September.
  18. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  19. Sebastian Galiani & Guido G. Porto, 2010. "Trends in Tariff Reforms and in the Structure of Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 482-494, August.
  20. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2007. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labour Market Effects of Trade Liberalisation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2000, CESifo Group Munich.
  21. Pavcnik, Nina, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvement: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 245-76, January.
  22. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  23. Revenga, Ana L, 1992. "Exporting Jobs? The Impact of Import Competition on Employment and Wages in U.S. Manufacturing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 255-84, February.
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