Labour Market Characteristics and Surviving Import Shocks
57 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017 Last revised: 9 Dec 2018
Date Written: September 10, 2018
This paper investigates whether different labour market characteristics amplify or dampen the local labour market impacts from Chinese import competition exposure. I exploit state-level variation in initial, pre-shock labour market characteristics and regional variation across local labour markets in exposure to Chinese imports for identification. I find that local labour markets in states with higher union density experience more severe adverse consequences as a result of increased import exposure. Conversely, higher initial minimum wages help mute the negative impacts of the China shock. I also provide some evidence that exceptions to employment-at-will legislation can affect employment responses to increased Chinese imports. Finally, examining all policies together in an index, I show that higher levels of policies intended to benefit and protect workers can actually magnify the extent of the damage inflicted by import competition. My results suggest that initial labour market characteristics and policies can play an important role in understanding why local labour markets react differently to trade shocks.
Keywords: import competition, labour market policies
JEL Classification: F14, F16, J08, J51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation