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The Rise of China and the Rebound in Korea’s Manufacturing Employment 표지
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Title The Rise of China and the Rebound in Korea’s Manufacturing Employment
Author Kyong Hyun Koo and Unjung Whang
Series Working paper 18-07
Language English
Date 2018-12-28

   Over the last three decades, the world has experienced a substantial in-crease in Chinese import penetration due to the rapid improvement in Chi-na’s supply productivity, which is often called the “China shock” or “China syndrome.” The existing literature have shown that the increase in imports from China due to the China shock adversely affected the manufacturing employment of a number of advanced countries such as the U.S., Norway, Denmark, and Spain. Unlike those advanced countries, South Korea has shown a pronounced increase in exports to China as well as imports from China since the 1990s. Over the same time, furthermore, Korea’s manufactur-ing employment has shown a stagnated downward trend compared to other advanced economies and even rebounded since the mid-2000s. Given these motivations, this study investigates both import and export channels to ex-plore how the China trade shocks affected the exceptional trend in Korea’s manufacturing employment from 1993 through 2015.
   To capture the overall employment effects of the China shocks, specifically, we consider not only how a Korean manufacturing industry employment is affected by the change in its direct exposure to China trade shocks (direct effects), but also how other industries’ changes in exposure to China trade shocks affect the industry through domestic industrial linkages (indirect ef-fects), largely following the empirical approach employed by Acemoglu et al. (2016). Mainly using firm-level data for almost all Korean manufacturing firms with more than four employees and the 2SLS estimation method, we find that during the period 1993-2015 the increase in Chinese import expo-sure had statistically insignificant direct effects on Korea’s manufacturing em-ployment on average, while 1% point increase in Chinese export exposure directly caused 0.18% increase in employment across Korean manufacturing industries. For the indirect effects of China shocks, in contrast, 1% point in-crease in Chinese import exposures of downstream industries (intermediate goods buyers) led to 3.00% decrease in employment of upstream industries (intermediate goods sellers) on average, while 1% point increase in Chinese export exposures of downstream industries brought 1.70% increase in em-ployment of upstream industries on average. The relatively moderate direct effects compared to the indirect ones are partly explained by two factors: First, Korea has gone through a substantial change in the structure of its trade with China since 2000s, so that within-industry supply chains between China and Korea have become more intertwined for some industries. Second, the Korean industries whose main downstream industries were substantially exposed to the Chinese imports (exports) tended to have a relatively low di-rect Chinese import (export) exposure during the period 1993-2015.
   Based on the 2SLS estimates above, the increased Chinese import expo-sure turns out to have decreased Korea manufacturing employment by 1,210,000 during the period 1993-2015, mainly through the indirect channel. In contrast, the increased Chinese export exposure appears to have increased Korea manufacturing employment by 1,090,000 during the same period, through the direct channel (210,000) and indirect channel (880,000). In the case of Korea’s manufacturing industry, therefore, most of the job reduction attributable to the China shocks has been also offset by job creation caused by the China shocks. Such a considerable increase in manufacturing jobs due to the rise of China, which has not been reported yet in other advanced economies, appear to have played an important role in generating the re-bounding trend in Korea’s manufacturing employment.

Keywords: Trade Shocks, Globalization, Labor-Market Adjustment
JEL Classification: E24, F13, F14, F16, L60, P33 

Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. Empirical Approach
2.1. Measure of Korean Manufacturing Exposure to Chinese Imports
2.2. Measure of Korean Manufacturing Exposure to Export to China
2.3. Direct Employment Effects of Korean Manufacturing Exposure to Imports from/Exports to China
2.4. Indirect Employment Effects of Korean Manufacturing Exposure to Imports from/Exports to China

3. Data Description

4. Empirical Results
4.1. Direct Effects
4.2. Indirect Effects
4.3. Counter-factual Calculations

5. Concluding Remarks



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