Has Labor Income Become More Volatile? Evidence from International Industry-Level Data
German Economic Review,
Changes in labor market institutions and the increasing integration of the world economy may affect the volatility of capital and labor incomes. This article documents and analyzes changes in income volatility using data for 11 industrialized countries, 22 industries and 35 years (1970–2004). The article has four main findings. First, the unconditional volatility of labor income has declined in parallel to the decline in macroeconomic volatility. Second, the industry-specific, idiosyncratic component of labor income volatility has hardly changed. Third, cross-sectional heterogeneity is substantial. If anything, the labor incomes of high- and low-skilled workers have become more volatile relative to the volatility of capital incomes. Fourth, the volatility of labor income relative to the volatility of capital income declines in the labor share. Trade openness has no clear-cut impact.
Skill Content of Intra-european Trade Flows
European Journal of Comparative Economics,
In recent decades, the international division of labor has expanded rapidly in the wake of European integration. In this context, especially Western European high-wage countries should have specialized on (human-)capital intensively manufactured goods and should have increasingly sourced labor-intensively manufactured goods, especially parts and components, from Eastern European low wage countries. Since this should be beneficial for the high-skilled and harmful to the lower-qualified workforce in high-wage countries, the opening up of Eastern Europe is often considered as a vital reason for increasing unemployment of the lower-qualified in Western Europe. This paper addresses this issue by analyzing the skill content of Western European countries’ bilateral trade using input-output techniques in order to evaluate possible effects of international trade on labor demand. Thereby, differences in factor inputs and production technologies have been considered, allowing for vertical product differentiation. In this case, skill content of bilateral exports and imports partially differs substantially, especially in bilateral trade between Western and Eastern European countries. According to the results, East-West trade should be harmful particularly to the medium-skilled in Western European countries.
International Trade Patterns and Labour Markets – An Empirical Analysis for EU Member States
International Journal of Economics and Business Research,
During the last decades, international trade flows of the industrialized countries became more and more intra-industry. At the same time, employment perspectives particularly of the low-skilled by tendency deteriorated in these countries. This phenomenon is often traced back to the fact that intra-industry trade (IIT), which should theoretically involve low labour market adjustment, became increasingly vertical in nature. Against this background, the present paper investigates the relationship between international trade patterns and selected labour market indicators in European countries. As the results show, neither inter- nor vertical intra-industry trade (VIIT) do have a verifiable effect on wage spread in EU member states. As far as structural unemployment is concerned, the latter increases only with the degree of countries’ specialization on capital intensively manufactured products in inter-industry trade relations. Only for unemployment of the less-skilled, a slightly significant impact of superior VIIT seems to exist.
Size, Productivity, and International Banking
Journal of International Economics,
Heterogeneity in size and productivity is central to models that explain which manufacturing firms export. This study presents descriptive evidence on similar heterogeneity among international banks as financial services providers. A novel and detailed bank-level data set reveals the volume and mode of international activities for all German banks. Only a few, large banks have a commercial presence abroad, consistent with the size pecking order documented for manufacturing firms. However, the relationship between internationalization and productivity also yields two inconsistencies with recent trade models. First, virtually all banks hold at least some foreign assets, irrespective of size or productivity. Second, some fairly unproductive banks maintain commercial presences abroad.
Corporate Governance in the Multinational Enterprise: A Financial Contracting Perspective
International Business Review,
The aim of this paper is to bring economics-based finance research more into the focus of international business theory. On the basis of an analytical model that introduces financial constraints into incomplete contracting in an international vertical trade relationship, we propose an integrated framework that facilitates the study of the interdependencies between internalisation decisions, firm-internal allocations of control rights, and the debt capacity of firms. We argue that the financial constraint of an MNE and/or its supplier should be considered as an important determinant of internal governance structures, complementary to, and interacting with, institutional factors and proprietary knowledge.
International Bank Portfolios: Short- and Long-run Responses to Macroeconomic Conditions
Review of International Economics,
International bank portfolios constitute a large component of international country portfolios. Yet, banks’ response to international macroeconomic conditions remains largely unexplored.We use a novel dataset on banks’ international portfolios to answer three questions. First, what are the long-run determinants of banks’ international portfolios? Second, how do banks’ international portfolios adjust to short-run macroeconomic developments? Third, does the speed of adjustment change with the degree of financial integration?We find that, in the long-run, market size has a positive impact on foreign assets and liabilities. An increase in the interest differential between the home and the foreign economy lowers foreign assets and increases foreign liabilities. Foreign trade has a positive impact on international bank portfolios, which is independent from the effect of other macroeconomic variables. Short-run dynamics show heterogeneity across countries, but these dynamics can partly be explained with gravity-type variables.
Margins of international banking: Is there a productivity pecking order in banking, too?
Bundesbank Discussion Paper 12/2009,
Modern trade theory emphasizes firm-level productivity differentials to explain
the cross-border activities of non-financial firms. This study tests whether a
productivity pecking order also determines international banking activities. Using
a novel dataset that contains all German banks’ international activities, we
estimate the ordered probability of a presence abroad (extensive margin) and the
volume of international assets (intensive margin). Methodologically, we enrich the
conventional Heckman selection model to account for the self-selection of banks
into different modes of foreign activities using an ordered probit. Four main
findings emerge. First, similar to results for non-financial firms, a productivity
pecking order drives bank internationalization. Second, only a few non-financial
firms engage in international trade, but many banks hold international assets, and
only a few large banks engage in foreign direct investment. Third, in addition to
productivity, risk factors matter for international banking. Fourth, gravity-type
variables have an important impact on international banking activities.