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Globalisation, technology and the labour market: A microeconometric analysis for Turkey

Elena Meschi, Erol Taymaz & Marco Vivarelli

This paper studies the interlinked relationship between globalisation and technological upgrading in affecting employment and wages of skilled and unskilled workers in a middle income developing country. It exploits a unique longitudinal firm-level database that covers all manufacturing firms in Turkey over the 1992-2001 period. Turkey is taken as an example of a developing economy that, in that period, had been technologically advancing and becoming increasingly integrated with the world market.

The empirical analysis is performed at firm level within a dynamic framework using a model that depicts the employment and wage trends for skilled and unskilled workers separately. In particular, the System Generalized Method of Moments (GMM-SYS) procedure is applied to a panel dataset of about 15,000 firms.

Our results confirm the theoretical expectation that developing countries face the phenomena of skill-biased technological change and skill-enhancing trade, both leading to increasing the employment and wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers. In particular, a strong evidence of a relative skill bias emerges: both domestic and imported technologies increase the relative demand for skilled workers more than the demand for the unskilled. "Learning by exporting" also appears to have a relative skill- biased impact, while FDI imply an absolute skill bias.

Keywords: Skill-biased technological change, international technology transfer, GMM-SYS

JEL Classification: O33