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Earnings Inequality in Production Networks

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  • Federico Huneeus
  • Kory Kroft
  • Kevin Lim

Abstract

This paper investigates the importance of firm-to-firm production network linkages for earnings inequality. We develop a quantitative model in which heterogeneous firms hire workers of different abilities in an imperfectly competitive labor market and source intermediates from heterogeneous suppliers in a production network. The model delivers an earnings equation with a firm-specific wage premium that depends endogenously on both firm productivities and firm-to-firm linkages in the production network. We establish identification of the model parameters and estimate them using linked employer-employee and firm-to-firm transactions data from Chile. Counterfactual simulations using our estimated model show that heterogeneity in network linkages explains 21% of log earnings variance, while passthrough of productivity shocks via network linkages explains between 20-25% of earnings volatility. We also examine the effects of a minimum wage policy and find strong spillover effects to worker earnings above the wage floor, with substitution of materials for labor explaining around 40% of these effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Huneeus & Kory Kroft & Kevin Lim, 2021. "Earnings Inequality in Production Networks," NBER Working Papers 28424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28424
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets

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