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The impact of trade and technology on wage components

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  • Borrs, Linda
  • Knauth, Florian

Abstract

We use a large sample of German workers to analyze the effect of low-wage competition with China and Eastern Europe (the East) on the wage structure within German manufacturing industries. Utilizing the method by Abowd et al. (1999), we decompose wages into firm and worker components. We find that the rise of market access and competitiveness of the East has a substantial impact on the dispersion of the worker wage component and in part on positive assortative matching. Trade fails to explain changes in the firm wage premium. The rising dispersion in worker-specific wages can be attributed to increasing skill premia and to changes in the extensive margin of the workforce, leading to a wage polarization for the remaining within-industry workers. We also account for technological change by considering how many routine-intensive jobs are substituted within an industry. The more routine jobs are cut, the higher is the effect on wage inequality, especially on the dispersion of worker-specific wages. Overall, trade explains up to 19% of the recent increase in wage inequality and slightly exceeds the technology effect that accounts for approximately 17%.

Suggested Citation

  • Borrs, Linda & Knauth, Florian, 2016. "The impact of trade and technology on wage components," DICE Discussion Papers 241, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:241
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/148402/1/875110185.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Brunner, Daniel & Heiss, Florian & Romahn, André & Weiser, Constantin, 2017. "Reliable estimation of random coefficient logit demand models," DICE Discussion Papers 267, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    2. Goeddeke, Anna & Haucap, Justus & Herr, Annika & Wey, Christian, 2017. "Flexibility in wage setting under the threat of relocation," DICE Discussion Papers 269, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    3. Bonnet, Céline & Schain, Jan Philip, 2017. "An empirical analysis of mergers: Efficiency gains and impact on consumer prices," DICE Discussion Papers 244, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage decomposition; wage inequality; globalization; gravity;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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