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Exporters, Importers and Two-way Traders: the Links between Internationalization, Skills and Wages

  • Francesco Serti


    (Scuola Superiore S. Anna, Pisa)

  • Chiara Tomasi


    (Scuola Superiore S. Anna, Pisa & Università di Urbino)

  • Antonello Zanfei


    (Istituto di Scienze Economiche, Università degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo")

How do trade activities affect firms' employment and wages structures? Using firm level data on Italian manufacturing firms, this paper adds to the existing literature, by assessing how the degree of involvement in international trade impacts on workforce composition, earning levels and wage inequality. We differentiate firms involved in both trading activities - namely two-way traders - from firms that only export, and from those that only import. We show that two-way traders have a higher propensity to employ non-production workers, exhibit significant wage gaps, but also pay higher wages for both production and non production workers, relative to non internationalized firms and to firms which are involved only in either export or import. The paper also looks at how the wages and the skill structure of the trading firms change with the country of destination and origin and with the firms’ sectoral and geographical diversification.

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Paper provided by University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini in its series Working Papers with number 0713.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision: 2007
Handle: RePEc:urb:wpaper:07_13
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  1. Laszlo Halpern & Miklos Koren & Adam Szeidl, 2006. "Imports and Productivity," 2006 Meeting Papers 796, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Rachel Griffith & Rupert Harrison & John Van Reenen, 2004. "How special is the special relationship? Using the impact of US R&D spillovers on UK firms as a test of technology sourcing," IFS Working Papers W04/32, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Mirabelle Mu�ls & Mauro Pisu, 2009. "Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm: Evidence from Belgium," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(5), pages 692-734, 05.
  5. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-92, June.
  6. Bradford J Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 1994. "Exporters, Skill Upgrading And The Wage Gap," Working Papers 94-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. 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.
  8. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Maurin, Eric & Thesmar, David & Thoenig, Mathias, 2002. "Globalization and the demand for skill: An Export Based Channel," CEPR Discussion Papers 3406, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Rajneesh Narula & Antonello Zanfei, 2003. "Globalisation of Innovation The Role of Multinational Enterprises," DRUID Working Papers 03-15, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  11. 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.
  12. Pierre Biscourp & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Employment, Skill Structure and International Trade : Firm-level Evidence for France," Working Papers 2004-28, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  13. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alessandra Tucci, 2005. "Trade, Foreign Networks and Performance: a Firm-Level Analysis for India," Development Working Papers 199, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  16. Paolo Manasse & Luca Stanca, 2003. "Working on the Train? The Role of Technical Progress and Trade in Explaining Wage Differentials in Italian Firms," Development Working Papers 177, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  17. John Bound & George E. Johnson, 1989. "Changes in the Structure of Wages During the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," NBER Working Papers 2983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bernhard Heitger & J¸rgen Stehn, 2003. "Trade, Technical Change, and Labour Market Adjustment," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(10), pages 1481-1502, November.
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