Article: a PhD thesis.
Three Essays on International Trade and the Labor Market
Université de Lausanne, Faculté des hautes études commerciales
Faculté des hautes études commerciales (HEC) Université de Lausanne CH-1015 Lausanne SUISSE
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The thesis is made of three independent chapters interested in the impact of globalization on workers in industrialized countries. The dissertation is especially focused on identifying the causal impact of international trade on workers' mobility, wages, and employment with both a short- and medium-term perspective. The first paper explores the relation between intra-industry trade (IIT) expansion and associated worker flows, taking the latter as an indicator of labor-market adjustment costs. Being the first study to combine theoretical simulations and a novel identification strategy, we find that both theoretical and empirical analyses are consistent with the "smooth adjustment hypothesis", according to which IIT expansion is less disruptive than inter-industry trade expansion. The study therefore lends support to the use of IIT indices as first-pass proxies for the adjustment effects of trade expansion. The second chapter contrasts the impact of increased import competition coming from China and the European Union (EU) on workers in the United Kingdom over a 15-year period. The most salient findings show that increased imports from China had significantly negative effects on workers' earnings, wages and employment. In contrast, larger imports from the EU are associated with positive worker-level outcomes, which is largely explained by the fact that increased imports from the EU were mostly offset by increased same-industry exports to the EU. Besides, we find that increased imports from China exert additional pressure on workers through spillovers to employment and wages in downstream industries. Finally, the last chapter is focused on the impact of exposure to trade and real exchange rate shocks on wages for Swiss manufacturing workers. A particular attention is made to consistently estimate the causal effect in using a two-step gravity-type identification strategy. The study shows that the impact of trade and exchange rate movements is concentrated among high-skilled workers almost exclusively.
trade, labor market, exchange rate, Switzerland, United Kingdom
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