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Trade and Productivity: The Family Connection Redux

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Document pages: 40 pages

Abstract: We investigate the effects of demographic change and human capital accumulation on trade and productivity of domestic firms. In so doing we integrate a micro-founded education and fertility decision of households into a model of international trade with firm heterogeneity. Our framework leads to four testable implications: i) the export share of a country increases in the education level of its population, ii) the export share of a country decreases in the birth rate of its population, iii) the average profitability of firms increases in the education level of a country, iv) the average profitability of firms decreases in the birth rate of a country. We find that all four implications are supported by empirical evidence for a panel of OECD countries from 1960 to 2010. Our results suggest that investments in human capital accumulation, especially in higher education, are an important determinant of a country’s international competitiveness. Furthermore, falling birth rates need not be a serious concern with respect to productivity and international competitiveness of countries.

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