A new GLO Discussion Paper finds empirical support for a suggested theoretical model predicting that tougher competition leads plants to downgrade quality, which induces a decline in the wage difference between skilled and unskilled workers.
GLO Discussion Paper No. 1162, 2022
Foreign Competition, Skill Premium, and Product Quality: Impact of Chinese Competition on Mexican Plants – Download PDF
by Banh, Thi Hang & Caselli, Mauro
GLO Fellow Mauro Caselli
Author Abstract: This paper analyses the effect of rising competition from Chinese exports on the skill premium of Mexican plants. Using detailed product-plant-level production data from Mexico and bilateral product-level trade data for 1994-2007, we provide evidence that Mexican plants reduce their skill premium in response to increasing competition from Chinese exports, and the effect is more pronounced among non-exporting plants. Thus, we develop a model linking competition and wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers by introducing these two types of labour to a model with heterogeneous firms and quality differentiation. Our model predicts that tougher competition leads plants to downgrade quality, which induces a decline in the wage difference between skilled and unskilled workers. We investigate this hypothesis empirically by analysing the effect of Chinese competition on the product quality of Mexican plants. Consistent with the fall in the skill premium, we document a downgrading impact of China’s rise on Mexican plants’ product quality and this quality downgrading is less intense for products sold in the foreign market. These findings provide empirical support for the predictions of our model.
Vol. 35, Issue 4, October 2022: Journal of Population Economics (JOPE): 15 articles
Just released: CiteScore of JOPE moves up from 3.9 (2020) to 6.5 (2021)! LINK
Similar, its Impact Factor is now 4.7 (2021) after 2.8 (2020)! LINK
GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.
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