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Chinese imports competition’s impact on employment and the wage distribution: evidence from French local labor markets

Clément Malgouyres ()

No ECO2014/12, Economics Working Papers from European University Institute

Abstract: The rapid rise of Chinese exports over the past two decades has raised concerns for manufacturing employment in high-income countries. Spill-overs beyond manufacturing are an important issue given the large size of the non-traded sector in modern economies and household imperfect spatial mobility. In this paper, I follow the methodology developed by Autor et al. (2013a) to estimate the impact of Chinese imports competition onto French local labor markets, with an emphasis on the spill-overs effects beyond manufacturing. I consider a wide array of labor market outcomes, notably the distribution of wages, thus shedding light on the impact of low wage country imports competition on the local degree of wage inequality. I find that local employment and total labor income in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing are negatively affected by rising exposure to imports. Overall the number of jobs displaced by Chinese imports competition is larger outside than within the manufacturing sector. Jobs destructions are concentrated among low and medium-skill occupations in both traded and non-traded sectors. Hourly wages are negatively affected in both sectors in the middle part of the distribution. Local labor markets strongly exposed to Chinese competition did not experience a rise in the dispersion of hourly wages, with even a reduction of lower-tail inequality in the non-tradable sector. I find evidence suggesting that a high-minimum wage explains this reduction in lower-tail inequality, thus providing a striking illustration of how labor market institutions mediate the effect of globalization-induced shocks to labor demand

Keywords: import competition; local labour markets; labour demand; wage structure; China; France (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F16 J23 J31 R11 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna and nep-lab
Date: 2014
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