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Export Markets and Labor Allocation in a Low-income Country

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  • Brian McCaig
  • Nina Pavcnik

Abstract

We study the effects of a positive export shock on labor allocation between the informal, microenterprise sector and the formal firm sector in a low-income country. The U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement led to large reductions in U.S. tariffs on Vietnamese exports. We find that the share of manufacturing workers in Vietnam in the formal sector increased by 5 percentage points in response to the U.S. tariff reductions. The reallocation was greater for workers in more internationally integrated provinces and for younger cohorts. We estimate the gap in labor productivity within manufacturing across the informal and formal sectors. This gap and the aggregate labor productivity gain from the export-induced reallocation of workers across the two sectors are reduced when we account for worker heterogeneity, measurement error, and differences in labor intensity of production.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian McCaig & Nina Pavcnik, 2014. "Export Markets and Labor Allocation in a Low-income Country," NBER Working Papers 20455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20455
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    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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