Increased trade openness, productivity, employment and wages: a difference-in-differences approach

Silvia Adriana Peluffo Geronazzo


En este trabajo se analiza el efecto del aumento de la competencia debido a la creación del Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR) sobre la productividad, el empleo y los salarios a nivel de los establecimientos del sector manufacturero uruguayo. Se utilizan técnicas de evaluación de impacto, sin y con matching para el período 1988-1995. Uno de los resultados más robustos es que el aumento de la apertura comercial aumenta la productividad total de los factores a nivel de los establecimientos. Además se encuentra una reducción en el empleo, en particular de los trabajadores menos calificados, aumentos en los salarios y una reducción de la brecha salarial entre los trabajadores calificados y los menos calificados como resultado del incremento en la apertura comercial. Así, el aumento en la productividad y el aumento del desempleo de los trabajadores menos calificados señalarían la necesidad de políticas de capacitación, empleo y otras políticas sociales a fin de neutralizar los efectos negativos del aumento de la apertura comercial sobre los trabajadores menos calificados.

This paper analyses the effects of increased competition resulting from the creation of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) on productivity, employment and wages for the Uruguayan manufacturing sector at the plant level. We use impact evaluation techniques, namely regressions and matching and difference-in-differences estimation for the period 1988-1995. One of the most robust findings is that increased trade liberalization seems to improve total factor productivity. Furthermore, we find reductions in employment driven mainly by the decrease in blue collars, increases in wages and a reduction in the wage gap between white and blue collars as a result of increased trade exposure. Thus, the increase in productivity along with the unemployment of unskilled workers would indicate a room for training, labour and social policies in order to countervail the negative impact of trade liberalization on less qualified workers.

Palabras clave

política comercial; productividad; empleo; salarios;

Texto completo:



Ackerberg, D., Caves, K. & Frazer, G. (2006). “Structural Identification of Production Functions”. Available


Attanasio, O., Godberg, P.& Pavcnik, N. (2004). “Trade Reforms and Wage Inequality in Colombia”, Journal

of Development Economics, 74:331-336.

Alvarez, R. & Lopez, R. A. (2005). “Exporting and Performance: Evidence from Chilean Plants”, Canadian

Journal of Economics 38(4): 1384-1400.

Amarante, V., & Espino, A. (2007). “Informalidad y protección social en Uruguay. Elementos para una discusión

conceptual y metodológica”, Documentos de Trabajo.

Aw, B. Y., Chung, S., & Roberts, M. J. (2000). “Productivity and Turnover in the Export Market: Micro-Level

Evidence from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China)”, World Bank Economic Review 14(1),


Baldwin, R. (2003). “Openness and growth: What´s the empirical relationship?”, Challenges to globalization:

Analyzing the economics. University of Chicago Press, 2004. 499-526.

Baldwin, R., Forslid, R. Martin, P., Ottaviano, G. & Robert-Nicoud, F. (2003). Economic Geography and

Public Policy. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Barraud, A. & G. Calfat (2008). “Poverty Effects from trade liberalization in Argentina”, Journal of Development

Studies, 44(3), 365-383.

Behrman, J., Birdsall, N. & Szekely, M. (2003). “Economic Policy and Wage Differentials in Latin America”.

PIER Working Paper 01-048; Centre for Global Development Working Paper 28, April 2003.

Bernard, A. B., Eaton, J., Jensen J. B. & Kortum, S. (2003). “Plants and Productivity in International Trade”.

American Economic Review 93(4), 1268-1290.

Bernard, A.B. & Jensen, J. B. (1995). “Exporters, Jobs and Wages in US Manufacturing: 1967-1987”. Brooking

Papers on Economic Activity: Microeconomics, 67-119.

Bernard, A.B. & Jensen, J. B. (1999). “Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect or Both?”. Journal

of International Economics 47(1), 1-25.

Bernard, A. B., Redding, S. J. & Schott, P. K. (2007). “Comparative Advantage and Heterogenous Firms”,

Review of Economic Studies 74(1), 31-66.

Blundell, R. & Costa Dias, M. (2000). “Evaluation Methods for Non-Experimental Data”, Fiscal Studies,

(4), 427-468.

Blundell, R., Costa Dias, M., Costas, M. & John Van Reenen, J. (2004). “Evaluating the Employment

Impact of Mandatory Job Search Program”, Journal of the European Economic Association, 2(4),

-606, June 2004.

Bustos, P. (2011). “The Impact of Trade on Technology and Skill Upgrading: Evidence from

Argentina”, The American Economic Review, 101.1, 304-340.

Casacuberta, C. & Vaillant, M. (2002). “Trade and Wages in Uruguay in the 1990’s”. Working Paper 09/02,

Department of Economics, School of Social Science, University of the Republic, Uruguay.

Casacuberta, C., Fachola, G. & Gandelman, N. (2004). “The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Employment,

Capital and Productivity Dynamics: Evidence from the Uruguayan Manufacturing Sector”, Journal

of Policy Reform, 7(4), 225-248.

Clerides, S. K., Lach, S. & Tybout, J. R. (1998). “Is Learning by Exporting Important?. Micro Dynamic

Evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 113(3): 903-947.

Dollar, D. & Kraay, A. ( 2004). “Trade, Growth, and Poverty”, Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society,

vol. 114(493), 22-49.

Edwards, S. (1993). “Trade Orientation, Distortion and Growth in Developing Countries”, Journal of Economics

Literature 31(3),1358-1393.

Fernandes, A. (2007). “Trade Policy, Trade Volumes and Plant Level Productivity in Colombian Manufacturing

Industries”, Journal of International Economics 71(1), 52-71, March 2007.

Feenstra, R. C. & Hanson, G. H. (1997). “Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico

´s maquiladoras”, Journal of International Economics 42, 371-393.

Feenstra, Robert C.& Hanson, G. H. (1999). “Productivity Measurement and the Impact of Trade and Technology

on Wages: Estimates for the U.S., 1972-1990”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 114, 907-

Feenstra, R. C. & Hanson, G. H. (2001). Global production sharing and rising wage inequality. A survey of

trade and wages. NBER Working Paper No. 8372, July, National Bureau of Economic Research,

Cambridge, MA.

Galiani, S. & Porto, G. (2006). “Trends in tariff reforms and trends in wage inequality”, Policy Research

Working Paper Series 3905. The World Bank.

Gaston, N. & Trefler, D. (1997). “The Labour Market Consequences of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement”.

Canadian Journal of Economics, 30, 18-41.

Giavazzi, F. & Tabellini, G. (2005). “Economic and Political Liberalizations”, Journal of Monetary Economics

(7), 1297-1330.

Hallak, J., C. & Levinsohn J. (2004). “Fooling Ourselves: Evaluating the Globalization and Growth Debate”,

NBER Working Paper 10244.

Harrison, A. E. (1994). “Productivity, Imperfect Competition and Trade Reform: Theory and Evidence”,

Journal of International Economics 36(1-2), 53-73.

Harrison, A. & Revenga, A. (1995). “Factor Markets and Trade Policy Reform”, The World Bank manuscript.

Hertel, T. & Reimer, J. (2005). “Predicting the poverty impacts of trade reform”, Journal of International

Trade and Economic Development, Taylor and Francis Journals, 14(3), 377-405.

Isgut, A. (2001). “What ‘s Different about Exporters? Evidence from Colombian Manufacturing”, Journal of

Development Studies 37(5), 57-82.

Krishna, P. & Mitra, D. (1998). “Trade Liberalization, Market Discipline and Productivity Growth: New

Evidence from India”, Journal of Development Economics, 56(2), 447-462.

Levinsohn, L. (1999). “Employment responses to international liberalization in an industrializing economy”

, Journal of International Economics 47, 321-344.

Lee, E. & Vivarelli, M. (2006). Globalization, Employment and Income Distribution in Developing Countries.

Palgrave Macmillan October 2006.

Lewer, J. J. & Van den Berg, H. (2003). “How Large is International Trade’s Effect on Economic Growth?”,

Journal of Economic Surveys 17(3), 363-396.

Lopez, R. A. (2005). “Trade and Growth: Reconciling the Macroeconomic and Microeconomic Evidence”,

Journal of Economic Surveys 19(4), 623-648.

Lopez, H. (2004). “Pro-poor-Pro-growth: Is there a Trade Off?”, The World Bank, Policy Research Working

Paper No. 3378.

Lopez-Cordova , E. & Mesquita Moreira, M. (2003). “Regional Integration and Productivity: The Experiences

of Brazil and Mexico”. INTAL-ITD-STA, Working Paper 14.

Loayza, N., Fajnzylber, P. & Calderón, C. (2004). “Economic Growth in Latin America and The Caribbean:

Stylized Facts, Explanations, and Forecasts”. Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 265, Central

Bank of Chile

Melitz, M. J. (2003). “The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity”,

Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), 1695-1725, November.

Melitz, M., and G. I. P. Ottaviano (2008). “Market Size, Trade, and Productivity”, Review of Economic

Studies, 75 (1), 295-316.

Milner, C. & Wright, P. (1998). “Modelling Labour Market Adjustment to Trade Liberalization in an Industrialising

Economy”. The Economic Journal, 108 (March), 509-528.

Nicita A., & Olarreaga, M. (2007). “Trade, Production and Protection 1976-2004”, World Bank Economic

Review 21(1), 165-171.

Pack, H. (1988). “Industrialization and Trade”, in H. Chenery and T. Srinivasan, Handbook of Development

Economics, Amsterdam, North Holland.

Petrin, A. & Levinsohn, J. A. (2003). “Measuring Aggregate Productivity Growth Using Plant-Level Data”

The RAND Journal of Economics 43.4 (2012): 705-725.

Pacvnick, N. (2002). Trade Liberalization, Exit and Productivity Improvements: Evidence form Chilean

Plants. Review of Economic Studies, 69(1), 245-276.

Rama, M. (2003). “Globalization and Labour Markets”, World Bank Research Observer, 18 (2), 159-86.

Rama, M. (1994). “Trade reform and manufacturing”, in Conolly and De Melo. The effects of protectionism

in a small country. The case of Uruguay, IMF.

Roberts, M. C. & Tybout, J. (1996). (eds.) Industrial Evolution in Developing Countries. New York, N. Y.:

Oxford University Press.

Robbins, D. (2003). “The impact of trade liberalization upon inequality in developing countries: a review of

theory and evidence”. Processed, International Policy Group, Policy Integration Department, International

Labour Office, ILO Working Paper n. 13, Geneva.

Robbins, D. (1996). “Evidence on Trade and Wages in the Developing World”. Technical Paper 119.

Rodriguez, F. & Rodrik, D. (2001). “Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Cross-National

Evidence”. NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, 261-338

National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Rosenbaum, P. R. & Rubin, D. B. (1983). “The Central role of the Propensity Score in Observational Studies

for Causal Effects”, Biometrika 70(1), 41-55.

Sánchez-Paramo, C. & Schady, N. (2004). “Off and Running?. Technology, Trade, and the Rising Demand

for Skilled Workers in Latin America”. The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper No. 2015.

Sianesi, B. (2001).”Implementing Propensity Score Matching Estimators with STATA”. University College

London and Institute for Fiscal Studies, prepared for UK Stata Users Group, VII Meeting, London,

May 2001.

Slaughter, M. J. (2001). “Trade Liberalization and Per Capita Income Convergence: A Difference-in-Difference

Analysis”, Journal of International Economics 55(1), 203-228.

Slaughter, M. J. (1998). “International Trade and labour market outcomes: results, questions and policy options”,

Economic Journal, 108, 1452-1462.

Spilimbergo, A. L., Londono, J. L. & Szekely, M. (1999). “Income distribution, factor endowments, and trade

openness”, Journal of Development Economics, 59:77, 101.

Topalova, P. (2004). “Trade Liberalization and Firm Productivity: The Case of India”, No. 4-28. International

Monetary Fund, 2004.

Trefler, D. (2004). “The Long and Short of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement”, The American Economic

Review 94(4), 870-896.

Tybout, J. (2003). “Plant-and Firm- Level Evidence on “New” Trade Theories”, in E. K. Choi and J. Harrigan

(eds.), Handbook of International Trade . Oxford: Blackwell.

Tybout, J. (2001). “Plant and Firm-Level Evidence on New Trade Theories”. in: Handbook of International

Economics, ed. James Harrigan. Vol. 38 Basil-Blackwell.

Tybout J., M. & Westbrook, D. (1996). “Scale Economies as a Source of Efficiency Gains”, in Industrial Evolution in Developing Countries, Micro Patterns of Turnover, Productivity, and Market Structure,

pp. 104-141. Oxford University Press.

Tybout, J., de Melo, J. & Corbo, V. (1991). “The Effects of Trade Reform on Scale and Technical Efficiency,

new Evidence from Chile”, Journal of International Economics, 3(3-4), 231-250.

Tybout, J. R. (1996). “Chile, 1979-86: trade liberalisation and its aftermath”, in: Industrial Evolution in Developing

Countries. Oxford University Press.

Verhoogen, E. (2008). “Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector”,

Quaterly Journal of Economics, 123(2), 489-530.

Wacziarg, R. & Welch, K. H. (2003). “Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence”. NBER Working

Paper No. 10152, December.

Winters, A., McCulloch, N. & A. McKay (2004). “Trade Liberalization and Poverty: The Evidence so Far”,

Journal of Economic Literature XLII: 72-115.

Wood, A. (1994). North-South trade, employment and inequality: changing fortunes in a skill driven world.

Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Wood, A. (1998). “Openness and wage inequality in developing countries: the Latin American challenge to

East Asian conventional wisdom”, in: Market integration, regionalism and the global economy,

eds. Baldwin, R., Cohen, R., Shapiro, A., Venables T., Cambridge University Press.

Yeaple, S. (2005). “A Simple Model of Firm Heterogeneity, International Trade, and Wages”, Journal of

International Economics 65(1), 1-20

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.