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Machines and machinists: Capital-skill complementarity from an international trade perspective

Márton Csillag and Miklós Koren

No 13, CeFiG Working Papers from Center for Firms in the Global Economy

Abstract: We estimate the effect of imported machines on the wages of machine operators utilizing Hungarian linked employer-employee data. We infer exposure to imported machines from detailed trade statistics of the firm and the occupation description of the worker. We find that workers exposed to imported machines earn about 8 percent higher wages than other machine operators at the same firm. When we proxy for unobserved worker characteristics, we find a significant 3 percent wage premium, suggesting that the relationship is causal. The return to schooling is also higher on imported machines. We build a simple matching model consistent with these findings. Our findings suggest that machine imports can be an important channel through which skill-biased technical change reaches less developed and emerging economies.

Date: 2011-03-25, Revised 2011-03-25
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Related works:
Working Paper: Machines and machinists: Capital-skill complementarity from an international trade perspective (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Machines and machinists: Capital-Skill Complementarity from an International Trade Perspective (2011) Downloads
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