This paper shows robust effects of trade shocks on within-firm wage inequality through changes in firm hierarchies. It uses two distinct research designs—one considering firm-level shocks to foreign demand and transportation costs, the other analyzing the Muslim boycott of Danish exports after the 2006 “cartoon crisis.” Consistent with knowledge-based and incentive-based hierarchy models, trade shocks affect organizational choices through production scale. Adding a hierarchy layer increases inequality throughout the organization, particularly widening the 90-50 wage gap and pay differences between top and bottom layers. Delayering after the boycott leads to wage compression through wage cuts, demotions, and employee turnover.
© 2020 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology