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International economic activities and skilled labour demand: evidence from Brazil and China

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Using two new firm-level datasets, this article investigates the impact of three international economic activities - the use of imported inputs, exports and foreign direct investment - on skilled labour demand in Brazil and China. We find that Brazilian firms that engage in these activities exhibit a higher skilled labour demand than firms that do not. In contrast, Chinese firms that engage in these activities have a lower skilled labour demand than firms that do not. Thus, international economic activities act as a channel for skill-biased technology diffusion in Brazil but have an effect of specialization according to comparative advantage in unskilled labour-intensive goods in China.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The World Bank, Washington, DC 20433

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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