Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 322: Labor Decomposition: A Firm Level Analysis on Import Quality and Labor Demand

Peter Warda ()
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Peter Warda: Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), Center of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies (CESIS) KTH, Sweden

Abstract: Structural changes due to global integration certainly affect the employment, productivity and profitability of firms. An interesting case reflects how firms use imports to replace certain stages in production of physical goods. The relevant question here is: if imports make up a substantial part of firms’ sales value, then can the import quality affect firms’ labor composition? The purpose of this paper is to analyze how high and low quality imports affect the labor composition in importing firms in Swedish manufacturing. Inter-firm variation shows that an increase in high (low) quality imports, on average, decreases the share of high-educated (low-educated) labor wages in total wages. Hence, a substitution effect. However, when intra-firm variation is considered the results are instead in favor of a complementary effect.

Keywords: Labor decomposition; labor composition; imports; quality of imports; manufacturing

JEL-codes: F14; J21; J23; O33

25 pages, June 24, 2013

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