IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Labor Market Institutions, Firm-specific Skills, and Trade Patterns

  • Heiwai Tang

This paper studies how cross-country differences in labor market institutions shape the pattern of international trade, focusing on workers' skill acquisition. I develop a model in which workers undertake non-contractible activities to acquire firm-specific skills on the job. In the model, workers have more incentive to acquire firm-specific skills relative to general skills in a more protective labor market. When sectors are different in the dependence on these two types of skills, workers' skill acquisition turns labor laws into a source of comparative advantage. By embedding the model in an open-economy framework with heterogeneous firms, sectors with different levels of dependece on firm-specific skills, and countries with varying degrees of labor protection, I show that countries with more protective labor laws export relatively more in firm-specific, skill-intensive sectors through both the intensive and extensive margins of trade. I then estimate returns to firm tenure for different U.S. manufacturing sectors over the period of 1974-1993, and use the estimates as sector proxies for firm-specific skill intensity to test the theoretical predictions. By implementing the Helpman-Melitz-Rubeinstein (2008) framework to estimate sector-level gravity equations for 84 countries in 1995, I find supporting evidence for the predicted effects of labor market institutions on both margins of trade.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://ase.tufts.edu/econ/research/documents/2010/firmSpecificSkills.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0755.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2010
Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0755
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Medford, MA 02155, USA

Phone: (617) 627-3560
Fax: (617) 627-3917
Web page: http://ase.tufts.edu/economics

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Chor, Davin, 2010. "Unpacking sources of comparative advantage: A quantitative approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 152-167, November.
  3. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1989. "Layoffs and Lemons," NBER Working Papers 2968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
  5. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
  6. Acemoglu, D. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Working papers 97-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 437-459.
  8. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
  9. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Financial Dependence and Growth," CRSP working papers 344, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  10. Roberts, John & Van den Steen, Eric, 2000. "Shareholder Interests, Human Capital Investment and Corporate Governance," Research Papers 1631, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  11. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  12. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  13. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, "undated". "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  14. Griffith, Rachel & Harrison, Rupert & Macartney, Gareth, 2006. "Product Market Reforms, Labour Market Institutions and Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5599, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  17. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, March.
  18. Dustmann, Christian & Meghir, Costas, 1999. "Wages, Experience and Seniority," CEPR Discussion Papers 2077, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Saint-Paul, G., 1995. "Is Labour Rigidity Harming Europe's Competitiveness? The Effect of Job Protection on the Pattern of Trade and Welfare," DELTA Working Papers 95-38, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  20. Arnaud Costinot, 2009. "An Elementary Theory of Comparative Advantage," NBER Working Papers 14645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Alejandro Cuñat & Marc J. Melitz, 2010. "A Many-Country, Many-Good Model of Labor Market Rigidities as a Source of Comparative Advantage," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 434-441, 04-05.
  22. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "The Regulation of Entry," Working Paper Series rwp01-015, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  23. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0940, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  24. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  25. Spector, David, 2002. "Competiton and the capital-labor conflict," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 0207, CEPREMAP.
  26. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects of Regulation and Deregulation in Goods and Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 879-907.
  27. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  28. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  29. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
  30. Felipe Balmaceda, 2005. "Firm-Sponsored General Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 115-134, January.
  31. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
  32. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  33. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
  35. Costinot, Arnaud, 2009. "On the origins of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 255-264, April.
  36. Acemoglu, Daron & Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," Scholarly Articles 3199063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  37. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1997. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 6010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Lars A. Stole & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410.
  39. Carl Davidson & Steven J. Matusz, 2006. "Long-run Lunacy, Short-run Sanity: a Simple Model of Trade with Labor Market Turnover," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 261-276, 05.
  40. Moshe Buchinsky & Denis Fougère & Francis Kramarz & Rusty Tchernis, 2008. "Interfirm Mobility, Wages, and the Returns to Seniority and Experience in the U.S," Caepr Working Papers 2008-006, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  41. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  42. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  43. Antras, Pol, 2005. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," Scholarly Articles 3196324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  44. Manova, Kalina, 2008. "Credit constraints, equity market liberalizations and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 33-47, September.
  45. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. James M. Malcomson, 1997. "Contracts, Hold-Up, and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1916-1957, December.
  49. R. Dornbusch & S. Fischer & P. A. Samuelson, 1976. "Comparative Advantage, Trade and Payments in a Ricardian Model With a Continuum of Goods," Working papers 178, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  50. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
  51. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
  52. Kirk Monteverde & David J. Teece, 1982. "Supplier Switching Costs and Vertical Integration in the Automobile Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 206-213, Spring.
  53. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2002. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  54. Donald R. Davis & James Harrigan, 2007. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, and Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 13139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Richard A. Brecher, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116.
  56. Belot, M.V.K. & Boone, J. & van Ours, J.C., 2007. "Welfare improving employment protection," Other publications TiSEM eee2f823-1384-4a2f-a4eb-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  57. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  58. Kletzer, Lori Gladstein, 1989. "Returns to Seniority after Permanent Job Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 536-43, June.
  59. Etienne Wasmer, 2006. "General versus Specific Skills in Labor Markets with Search Frictions and Firing Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 811-831, June.
  60. Matusz, Steven J, 1996. "International Trade, the Division of Labor, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 71-84, February.
  61. 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.
  62. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Wages, Unemployment and Inequality with Heterogeneous Firms and Workers," NBER Working Papers 14122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  63. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  64. Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2006. "Comparative advantage, demand for external finance, and financial development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3889, The World Bank.
  65. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  66. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  67. Masten, Scott E. & Meehan, James Jr. & Snyder, Edward A., 1989. "Vertical integration in the U.S. auto industry : A note on the influence of transaction specific assets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 265-273, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0755. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Caroline Kalogeropoulos)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.