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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 52, December 2013, Pages 1–18
This work investigates the impact of importing, exporting, and two-way trading on firm labor demand in Turkish manufacturing. Adopting Multiple Propensity Score Matching techniques and Difference in Difference estimator, we support the positive internationalization impact on firm employment for an emergent country. Our evidence reveals the existence of complementarity effects between exports and imports, which is strengthened for high trade intensity firms. Furthermore, only high intensity exporting seems to promote the workforce skill upgrading in terms of an increase in the R&D worker share. The employment creation effect of firm internationalization reflects its large positive impact on firm production scale.
The recent economic success of emerging countries rests largely on their competitive manufacturing sectors, which are increasingly integrated into the world economy. On the one hand, the export market represents an unprecedented opportunity for growth and innovation for manufacturing firms. On the other hand, imported inputs enhance the possibilities for acquiring advanced technologies and/or exploiting new complementarities in production. Although both importing and exporting activities may occasion an internal restructuring process and bring about efficiency gains (Halpern et al., 2005, Wagner, 2007 and Wagner, 2012) the impact on firm employment levels is more uncertain. Productivity improvements arising from import and export activities might, for example, foster a permanent shift toward labor-saving technologies, with a consequent reduction in firm employment. Also, imported inputs may directly substitute for domestic labor. Nevertheless, this is only part of the story, and there are other channels that instead suggest the employment-creation effects of trade. If higher productivity fostered by internationalization leads to improved competitiveness and to an expansion of firm output and market share, trade could positively affect firm employment levels, even in the face of a reduction in overall labor intensity in manufacturing. Finally, exporting might directly lead to an expansion of the scale of firm operations and thus of firm employment, as it opens new potential business opportunities and increases the relevant market size of firms. Policy makers in developing economies should, then, be concerned about the international integration of manufacturing firms, as it may have important consequences for long-term trends in employment creation and economic growth. Indeed, countries’ integration into the global economy brings about an important restructuring process, with low productivity firms exiting manufacturing (Fernandes, 2007, Melitz, 2003, Pavcnik, 2002 and Paus et al., 2003). If redundant workers are then reallocated to low productivity and low growth sectors (e.g., services), the country will experience low productivity growth (Rodrik & McMillan, 2011). On the other hand, if trade fosters an increase in manufacturing firms’ demand for labor, redundant labor could be reallocated within the manufacturing sector to trading firms, which are usually the most productive firms in the economy. As a consequence, a country may experience increased productivity growth. Our aim, then, is to explore the effect of trade on firm employment and employment composition in an emerging country framework by examining the Turkish manufacturing sector, thus contributing to the developing economy literature that has mainly investigated the relative demand for skilled labor (Fajnzylber and Fernandes, 2009, Görg and Strobl, 2002, Harrison and Hanson, 1999 and Pavcnik, 2003). In particular, our study adds to previous empirical work on Turkey (Demir, 2010, Demir, 2013, Meschi et al., 2011 and Yasar and Morrison Paul, 2008) by providing, for the first time, comprehensive evidence regarding the causal effects of importing, exporting, and joint importing and exporting on firm level labor demand, using recent and representative data. The empirical strategy we adopt is based on a combination of Multiple Propensity Score Matching (MPSM) and Difference-in-Differences (DID) estimation. This methodological choice allows us to dissect and isolate the role of each international strategy—importing, exporting, and two-way trading—on employment, by controlling for selection on time invariant unobservables. The focus on developing countries is of particular interest in the study of the trade-employment nexus for several reasons. First, while developed countries’ importing activities, especially from low-income countries, are often driven by labor cost saving objectives, firms in emerging markets are more likely to be seeking technology and high-quality inputs when they engage in cross-border trade. This may, directly or indirectly—indirectly through productivity improvements induced by technology transfers embodied in trade flows (Halpern et al., 2005)—affect firm level employment and employment composition in different ways than in a developed economy framework. Second, exports may offer firms in developing countries—more than firms in developed countries—the opportunity to substantively enlarge their scale of operations, as their domestic markets may be small. Third, global production chains intensively involve firms located in emerging economies, and it is important to understand whether firms entering international production networks can create important employment opportunities within developing economies. Within this framework, Turkey is an interesting case. Beginning in the 1980s, the country has undergone a continuous and growing process of integration into the global economy. Empirical evidence confirms that productivity gains are associated with the internationalization of Turkish firms (Maggioni, 2012, Morrison and Yasar, 2007 and Yasar and Rejesus, 2005) and this hints at the possibility of pro-competitive effects of firm activities in foreign markets. However, limited empirical evidence exists on the recent consequences of firm trade on Turkish manufacturing employment, a gap that we attempt here to fill. During the period of our analysis, 2003–08, the Turkish manufacturing sector experienced an increase in the absolute size of its labor force and now accounts for a significant share of total Turkish employment. Nevertheless, its share of total employment decreased from about 41% in 2003 to 34% in 2008 and, despite sustained GDP growth (6% annually, on average, during our sample period), the Turkish unemployment rate has remained very high (about 11%), while the employment rate has remained modest (well below 50%). Turning to the country’s integration in the global economy, in our sample period, exports and imports grew dramatically (25% and 19%, respectively1), compared to previous decades. In this context, it is crucial to clarify whether firm internationalization strategies have sustained manufacturing labor demand or have contributed to stagnation in the labor market. This point is crucial for anticipating future effects of ongoing integration into the global economy on unemployment reduction and employment creation. Furthermore, our investigation aims to disclose the impact of a firm’s trade integration strategies on its employment composition in terms of the ratio of R&D to non-R&D workers. Trade may indeed represent a channel of technology and knowledge transfers (Fernandes and Paunov, 2010 and Lo Turco and Maggioni, 2012a), and firms may engage in innovation and endow themselves with a skilled workforce to take advantage of the opportunities presented by international markets. The latter channel may clearly play an important role in the future growth pattern of the economy and in the development process, increasingly based on knowledge creation and innovation. The work is organized as follows: the next section reviews the relevant literature; Section 3 presents the data and some firm level descriptive evidence on trade and employment; Section 4 addresses the empirical strategy and the estimation technique; Section 5 displays the main results of our analysis; Section 6 investigates the role of firm trade intensity. Finally, Section 7 discusses the evidence and concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
With this paper, we have contributed to the scant literature that exists on the employment consequences of developing country firms’ internationalization strategies. Contrary to previous empirical studies, mainly focused on the impact of imports on the ratio of white to blue collar workers, we have analyzed overall firm employment and the composition of the labor force in terms of the ratio of R&D workers to non-R&D workers. We have, for the first time, simultaneously investigated firm export and import activities and isolated and compared the impact of each of these trade strategies and of their joint adoption in an MPSM framework. Our results highlight that the penetration of foreign markets and the acquisition of foreign inputs have similar sizable impacts on domestic labor demand. However, simultaneously entering the export and import markets delivers the highest employment effect in the year of entry and in subsequent years, suggesting complementarity between the two strategies. The investigation of trade intensity reveals that the positive effects on labor demand hold, regardless of a firm’s degree of involvement in foreign markets. Firms entering both export and import markets with high intensity, however, experience higher employment growth. Finally, only high intensity exporting leads to an increase in the share of R&D employees, confirming the role of trade as a driver of innovation. Our results do not support the notion that employment losses result from ongoing international economic integration. On the contrary, within the stagnant Turkish labor market, firm trade activity positively affects manufacturing employment and may counterbalance other factors that negatively affect it. More importantly, we show that entry into foreign markets, whether the import or the export market, leads to significant increases in a firm’s scale of operations. It follows that internationalization provides firms with higher growth prospects, representing a fundamental channel for employment creation. Future research should seek to provide more cross-country evidence regarding the consequences for labor demand of firm involvement in global networks in developing countries. Such countries usually have in common high unemployment rates and thus it is important to understand whether the experience of Turkey is representative of other economies at the same stage of development. Policy makers in emerging economies should therefore seek to enhance firm involvement in foreign markets, as it represents a powerful tool of firm growth. Exploration of other features of the ongoing global integration process, such as the role of domestic and foreign multinational firms, is an additional interesting line of enquiry.