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The links between internationalization, skills and wages. The role of differences across firms and across partner countries

  • Francesco Serti
  • Chiara Tomasi
  • Antonello Zanfei

Using firm level data on Italian manufacturing industry, we examine how trade activities are related to workforce composition and wages. We contribute to empirical research on these issues in three ways. First, we provide novel evidence that is consistent with multi-attribute models on firm heterogeneity and trade. In fact we show that even after controlling for various firm characteristics, including size and capital intensity, exporters still pay higher wages and employ more skilled workers than non exporters. Second, we consider the engagement of firms in international transactions, either by means of exports, imports or a combination of the two. We show that failing to control for the importing activities may bias upward export premia. Third, we look at how the wage and the employment structures of trading firms change with the country of destination and origin of trade flows. We find that wage and skill premia increase for both exporters and importers as they trade with more distant markets. Richer countries are instead associated with higher premia for importers and not for exporters.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2009/19.

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Date of creation: 10 Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2009/19
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  1. Juan Carlos Hallak & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2009. "Firms' Exporting Behavior under Quality Constraints," NBER Working Papers 14928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1611-1638, December.
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  7. Michele Di Maio & Federico Tamagni, 2006. "The evolution of world trade and the Italian ‘anomaly': a new look," Working Papers 39-2006, Macerata University, Department of Finance and Economic Sciences, revised Oct 2008.
  8. Laszlo Halpern & Miklos Koren & Adam Szeidl, 2005. "Import and Productivity," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0509, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  9. Aw, B. -Y. & Hwang, A. R., 1995. "Productivity and the export market: A firm-level analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 313-332, August.
  10. Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2007. "Do exporters really pay higher wages? First evidence from German linked employer-employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 52-74, May.
  11. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2004. "Microeconomic Evidence of Creative Destruction in Industrial and Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  13. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Lapham, Beverly, 2013. "Productivity and the decision to import and export: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 297-316.
  15. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. 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.).
  17. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  18. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Kugler, Maurice & Verhoogen, Eric A, 2009. "The Quality-Complementarity Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence from Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 7119, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  21. Davide Castellani & Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2008. "Firms in International Trade: Importers and Exporters Heterogeneity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry," LEM Papers Series 2008/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  22. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  24. Giulio Bottazzi & Marco Grazzi, 2007. "Wage structure in Italian Manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2007/05, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
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