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Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring

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  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Abstract

We propose a theory of the global production process that focuses on tradeable tasks, and use it to study how falling costs of offshoring affect factor prices in the source country. We identify a productivity effect of task trade that benefits the factor whose tasks are more easily moved offshore. In the light of this effect, reductions in the cost of trading tasks can generate shared gains for all domestic factors, in contrast to the distributional conflict that typically results from reductions in the cost of trading goods. (JEL F11, F16)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1978-97

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:5:p:1978-97

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.5.1978
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  1. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "What's the Use of Factor Contents?," NBER Working Papers 5448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Elhanan Helpman & Gene M. Grossman, 2002. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," NBER Working Papers 9403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban & Garicano, Luis & Antras, Pol, 2006. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," Scholarly Articles 4784031, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  20. David Hummels & Dana Rapoport & Kei-Mu Yi, 1998. "Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 79-99.
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  22. Edward E Leamer & Michael Storper, 2001. "The Economic Geography of the Internet Age," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 32(4), pages 641-665, December.
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