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Exchange Rates and Wages


  • Linda Goldberg
  • Joseph Tracy


The effects of exchange rate fluctuations across the population is an important issue for increasingly globalized economies. Previous studies using industry aggregate data have found differences across industries in the labor market implications of exchange rates, reporting that industry wages are significantly more responsive than industry employment. We offer an explanation for this paradoxical finding. Using Current Population Survey data for 1976 through 1998, we document that the main mechanism for exchange rate effects on wages occurs through job turnover and the strong consequences this has for the wages of workers undergoing such job transitions. By contrast, workers who remain with the same employer experience little if any wage impacts from exchange rate shocks. In addition, we find that the least educated workers who also have the most frequent job changes shoulder the largest adjustments to exchange rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda Goldberg & Joseph Tracy, 2001. "Exchange Rates and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8137
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bartel, Ann P, 1979. "The Migration Decision: What Role Does Job Mobility Play?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 775-786, December.
    2. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
    3. Note: For best results & the figures should be printed on a non-Postscript printer. Hoynes & H., "undated". "The Employment, Earnings, and Income of Less-Skilled Workers over the Business Cycle," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1199-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. Michael P. Keane & Eswar S. Prasad, 1991. "The relation between skill levels and the cyclical variability of employment, hours and wages," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 41, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    5. Linda Goldberg & Joseph Tracy, 2000. "Exchange Rates and Local Labor Markets," NBER Chapters,in: The Impact of International Trade on Wages, pages 269-307 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Davis, Steven J. & Haltiwanger, John, 2001. "Sectoral job creation and destruction responses to oil price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 465-512, December.
    7. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 1999. "Exchange Rates and Jobs: What Do We Learn from Job Flows?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 153-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Joseph Tracy & Linda Goldberg & Stephanie Aaronson, 1999. "Exchange Rates and Employment Instability: Evidence from Matched CPS Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 204-210, May.
    9. Davis, Steven J. & Haltiwanger, John, 1999. "Gross job flows," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2711-2805 Elsevier.
    10. Topel, Robert H, 1986. "Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 111-143, June.
    11. Michael Keane & Eswar Prasad, 1993. "Skill Levels and the Cyclical Variability of Employment, Hours, and Wages," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(4), pages 711-743, December.
    12. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The Evolving External Orientation of Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 5919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ana L. Revenga, 1992. "Exporting Jobs?The Impact of Import Competition on Employment and Wages in U. S. Manufacturing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 255-284.
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    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance

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