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Skill Upgrading and the Real Exchange Rate

Roberto Alvarez () and Ricardo A. López

Working Papers Central Bank of Chile from Central Bank of Chile

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of changes in the real exchange rate on skill upgrading in the case of Chile. Using plant-level data from the manufacturing sector we find that a real depreciation increases the share of skilled workers in the total wage bill in exporters but not in non-exporters. This result suggests that depreciations or, more generally, increases in export profitability, may induce exporters to adopt more skilled-intensive technologies. This finding gives support to recent models of trade that highlight the possible effect of the real exchange rate on skill upgrading and wage inequality. This paper also finds that real depreciations increase plants’ export intensity, suggesting that skill upgrading for already exporters is the channel through which real exchange depreciations affect wage inequality.

Date: 2009-06
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