Skills, Exports, and the Wages of Seven Million Latin American Workers

35 Pages Posted: 17 May 2010 Last revised: 18 Mar 2021

See all articles by Irene Brambilla

Irene Brambilla

Universidad Nacional de La Plata

Rafael Dix-Carneiro

Duke University

Daniel Lederman

World Bank - Latin America and Caribbean Region

Guido G. Porto

Universidad Nacional de La Plata - Faculty of Economics

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Date Written: May 2010

Abstract

The returns to schooling and the skill premium are key parameters in various fields and policy debates, including the literatures on globalization and inequality, international migration, and technological change. This paper explores the skill premium and its correlation with exports in Latin America, thus linking the skill premium to the emerging literature on the structure of trade and development. Using data on employment and wages for over seven million workers from sixteen Latin American economies, the authors estimate national and industry-specific returns to schooling and skill premiums and study some of their determinants. The evidence suggests that both country and industry characteristics are important in explaining returns to schooling and skill premiums. The analyses also suggest that the incidence of exports within industries, the average income per capita within countries, and the relative abundance of skilled workers are related to the underlying industry and country characteristics that explain these parameters. In particular, sectoral exports are positively correlated with the skill premium at the industry level, a result that supports recent trade models linking exports with wages and the demand for skills.

Suggested Citation

Brambilla, Irene and Dix-Carneiro, Rafael and Lederman, Daniel and Porto, Guido G., Skills, Exports, and the Wages of Seven Million Latin American Workers (May 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15996, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1607506

Irene Brambilla (Contact Author)

Universidad Nacional de La Plata ( email )

La Plata, Buenos Aires 1900
Argentina

Rafael Dix-Carneiro

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Daniel Lederman

World Bank - Latin America and Caribbean Region ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/danielledermanworldbank/

Guido G. Porto

Universidad Nacional de La Plata - Faculty of Economics ( email )

1900 La Plata
Argentina

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