Rent-sharing in Brazil: using trade liberalization as a natural experiment

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This paper examines the extent of rent-sharing in Brazil, between 1988 and 1995, combining two different data sets: annual industrial surveys (pIA) and annual household surveys (PNADs). The aim is to use the trade liberalization policies that took place in Brazil in the early 1990s as a 'natural experiment' to examine the impact ofproduct market rents on wages. We first estimate inter-industry wage differentials in Brazil, using the household surveys, afier controlling for various observable workers' characteristics. In a reduced form fixed effects equation, these controlled inter-industry differentials are seen to depend on the industries' rate of effective tariff. We also find that LSDV estimates of the effect of value-added per worker (computed using the industrial surveys) on the wage differentials are positive, but somewhat small. However, we find that instrumenting the valued-added with the effective tariffs more than doubles the estimated rent-sharing coefficient. The paper concludes that rent-sharing is prevalent in the Brazilian manufacturing sector, and this mechanism transferred part of the productivity gains due to trade liberalization to manufacturing workers in the form ofhigher (controlled) wage premium.

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