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Offshoring Jobs? Multinationals and U.S. Manufacturing Employment

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  • Ann Harrison

    (University of California, UC Berkeley, and NBER)

  • Margaret McMillan

    (Tufts University and NBER)

Abstract

Using firm-level data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we estimate the impact on U.S. manufacturing employment of changes in foreign affiliate wages. We show that the motive for offshoring and, consequently, the location of offshore activity, significantly affects the impact of offshoring on parent employment. In general, offshoring to low-wage countries substitutes for domestic employment. However, for firms that do significantly different tasks at home and abroad, foreign and domestic employment are complements. These offsetting effects may be combined to show that offshoring by U.S.-based multinationals is associated with a quantitatively small decline in manufacturing employment. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 857-875

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:3:p:857-875

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  1. Markusen, James R, 1989. "Trade in Producer Services and in Other Specialized Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 85-95, March.
  2. Katz, Lawrence F & Murphy, Kevin M, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78, February.
  3. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 11717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Swagel, Phillip, 2006. "The politics and economics of offshore outsourcing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1027-1056, July.
  5. James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "General-Equilibrium Approaches to the Multinational Firm: A Review of Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marc-Andreas Muendler & Sascha O. Becker, 2010. "Margins of Multinational Labor Substitution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1999-2030, December.
  7. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
  8. David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  9. Revenga, Ana L, 1992. "Exporting Jobs? The Impact of Import Competition on Employment and Wages in U.S. Manufacturing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 255-84, February.
  10. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David A. Riker & S. Lael Brainard, 1997. "U.S. Multinationals and Competition from Low Wage Countries," NBER Working Papers 5959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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