1) Trade Liberalization and Labor-Market Outcomes: Evidence from U.S. Matched Employer-Employee Data (WP-22-42)
We use matched employer-employee data to examine outcomes among workers initially employed within and outside manufacturing after trade liberalization with China. We find that exposure to this shock operates predominantly through workers' counties (versus industries), that larger own industry and downstream exposure typically reduce relative earnings, and that greater upstream exposure often raises them. The latter is particularly important outside manufacturing: while we find substantial and persistent predicted declines in relative earnings among manufacturing workers, those outside manufacturing are generally predicted to experience relative earnings gains. Investigation of employment reactions indicates they account for a small share of the earnings effect.
2) Multinational Firms in the U.S. Economy: Insights from Newly Integrated Microdata (WP-22-39)
This paper describes the construction of two confidential crosswalk files enabling a comprehensive identification of multinational firms in the U.S. economy. The effort combines firm-level surveys on direct investment conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the U.S. Census Bureau's Business Register (BR) spanning the universe of employer businesses from 1997 to 2017. First, the parent crosswalk links BEA firm-level surveys on U.S. direct investment abroad and the BR. Second, the affiliate crosswalk links BEA firm-level surveys on foreign direct investment in the United States and the BR. Using these newly available links, we distinguish between U.S. and foreign-owned multinational firms and describe their prevalence and economic activities in the national economy, by sector, and by geography.
3) Global Sourcing and Multinational Activity: A Unified Approach (WP-22-36)
Multinational firms (MNEs) accounted for 42 percent of US manufacturing employment, 87 percent of US imports, and 84 of US exports in 2007. Despite their disproportionate share of global trade, MNEs’ input sourcing and final-good production decisions are often studied separately. Using newly merged data on firms’ trade and FDI activity by country, we show that US MNEs are more likely to import not only from the countries in which they have affiliates, but also from other countries within their affiliates’ region. We rationalize these patterns in a unified framework in which firms jointly determine the countries in which to produce final goods, and the countries from which to source inputs. The model generates a new source of scale economies that arises because a firm incurs a country-specific fixed cost that allows all its assembly plants to source inputs from that country. This shared fixed cost across plants creates interdependencies between firms’ assembly and sourcing locations, and leads to non monotonic responses in third markets to bilateral trade cost changes.
4) U.S. Market Concentration and Import Competition (WP-22-34)
Many studies have documented that market concentration has risen among U.S. firms in recent decades. In this paper, we show that this rise in concentration was accompanied by tougher product market competition due to the entry of foreign competitors. Using confidential census data covering the universe of all firm sales in the U.S. manufacturing sector, we find that rising import competition increased concentration among U.S. firms by reallocating sales from smaller to larger U.S. firms and by causing firm exit. However, this increase in concentration was counteracted by the expansion of foreign firms, which reduced domestic firms’ share of the U.S. market inclusive of foreign firms’ sales. We find that once the sales of foreign exporters are taken into account, U.S. market concentration in manufacturing was stable between 1992 and 2012.
5) Rising Markups or Changing Technology (WP-22-38)
Recent evidence suggests the U.S. business environment is changing, with rising market concentration and markups. The most prominent and extensive evidence backs out firm-level markups from the first-order conditions for variable factors. The markup is identified as the ratio of the variable factor’s output elasticity to its cost share of revenue. Our analysis starts from this indirect approach, but we exploit a long panel of manufacturing establishments to permit output elasticities to vary to a much greater extent - relative to the existing literature - across establishments within the same industry over time. With our more detailed estimates of output elasticities, the measured increase in markups is substantially dampened, if not eliminated, for U.S. manufacturing. As supporting evidence, we relate differences in the markups’ patterns to observable changes in technology (e.g., computer investment per worker, capital intensity, diversification to non-manufacturing), and we find patterns in support of changing technology as the driver of those differences.
6) Propagation and Amplification of Local Productivity Spillovers (WP-22-32)
This paper shows that local productivity spillovers can propagate throughout the economy through the plant-level networks of multi-region firms. Using confidential Census plant-level data, we find that large manufacturing plant openings not only raise the productivity of local plants but also of distant plants hundreds of miles away, which belong to multi-region firms that are exposed to the local productivity spillover through one of their plants. To quantify the significance of plant-level networks for the propagation and amplification of local productivity shocks, we develop and estimate a quantitative spatial model in which plants of multi-region firms are linked through shared knowledge. Counterfactual exercises show that while knowledge sharing through plant-level networks amplifies the aggregate effects of local productivity shocks, it can widen economic disparities between workers and regions in the economy.
7) Measuring the Characteristics and Employment Dynamics of U.S. Inventors
Innovation is a key driver of long run economic growth. Studying innovation requires a clear view of the characteristics and behavior of the individuals that create new ideas. A general lack of rich, large-scale data has constrained such analyses. We address this by introducing a new dataset linking patent inventors to survey, census, and administrative microdata at the U.S. Census Bureau. We use this data to provide a first look at the demographic characteristics, employer characteristics, earnings, and employment dynamics of inventors. These linkages, which will be available to researchers with approved access, dramatically increases the scope of what can be learned about inventors and innovative activity.
8) Improving Patent Assignee-Firm Bridge with Web Search Results
This paper constructs a patent assignee-firm longitudinal bridge between U.S. patent assignees and firms using firm-level administrative data from the U.S. Census Bureau. We match granted patents applied between 1976 and 2016 to the U.S. firms recorded in the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) in the Census Bureau. Building on existing algorithms in the literature, we first use the assignee name, address (state and city), and year information to link the two datasets. We then introduce a novel search-aided algorithm that significantly improves the matching results by 7% and 2.9% at the patent and the assignee level, respectively. Overall, we are able to match 88.2% and 80.1% of all U.S. patents and assignees respectively. We contribute to the existing literature by 1) improving the match rates and quality with the web search-aided algorithm, and 2) providing the longest and longitudinally consistent crosswalk between patent assignees and LBD firms.