Export expansions and skill acquisition: Evidence from Rural China


As in many other countries in emerging markets, trade has been one of the most important engines for China’s growth miracle since the late 1970s. Yet how the export-led growth strategy affects the long-run growth trajetories depends on how it affects human capital formation, which is far from clear. We plan to examine how export expansions of products with different skill levels affect rural residents’ schooling choice by combining data drawn from the National Rural Fixed-point Survey (NRFS) and the product-level export data from the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC). To address the endogeneity issue, we will construct the instrumental variables (IVs) by exploiting exogenous changes in tariffs and exchange rates of export destination countries. Particularly, we differentiate export goods by skill intensity and construct IVs for export expansions of different skill intensity based on the skill intensity of the export products.

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