Discussion paper

DP15223 TBTs, Firm Organization and Labour Structure

This paper investigates the effects on firms' occupational structure of shocks induced by the intro-
duction of Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) in importing countries. We rely on the Specific Trade
Concern (STC) data released by the WTO to identify trade-restrictive TBT measures, combined
with matched employer-employee data for the population of French exporters over the period 1995-
2010, and with information on the list of product-destinations served by each French exporter. Con-
trolling for time-invariant firm/occupation effects and for time-varying sector/occupation shocks,
IV estimates show that exporters respond to increased complexity associated with restrictive TBTs
at destination by raising the share of managers at the expense of blue collars, white collars and
professionals. This evidence is consistent with the growing literature exploring how frms organize
their workforce composition in presence of exogenous (foreign) shocks; and it is also related to the
well-beaten literature on the labour market effects of trade.


Barba Navaretti, G, L Fontagné, G Pica, A Rosso and G Orefice (2020), ‘DP15223 TBTs, Firm Organization and Labour Structure‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 15223. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15223