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Does Outsourcing Reduce Wages in the Low Wage Service Occupations? Evidence from Janitors and Guards

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  • Dube, Arindrajit
  • Kaplan, Ethan

Abstract

Outsourcing of labor services grew substantially during the eighties and nineties, and was associated with lower wages, less benefits, and lower rates of unionization. We focus on two occupations for which we can identify outsourcing using industry and occupation codes: janitors and guards. Across a wide array of specifications, we find that the outsourcing wage penalty ranges between 4% and 7% for janitors and between 8% and 24% for guards. Our findings on health benefits mirror those on wages. We provide evidence that the outsourcing penalty is not due to compensating differentials for higher benefits or lower hours, skill differences, or the type of industries which outsource. Overall, the evidence suggests that outsourcing has reduced labor market rents for workers, especially for those in the upper half of the occupational wage distribution. Industries with higher historical wage premia were more likely to outsource service work over this period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt6s89498v.

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Date of creation: 28 Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt6s89498v

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  1. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz, 1989. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differentials?," NBER Working Papers 3182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
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  5. Richard B. Freeman, 1983. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," NBER Working Papers 1207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Abraham, Katharine G & Taylor, Susan K, 1996. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 394-424, July.
  7. Charles Brown & James L. Medoff, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," NBER Working Papers 2870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
  9. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1998. "Wage differentials for temporary services work: evidence from administrative data," Working Paper Series WP-98-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Sasan Bakhtiari, 2011. "Efficiency and Outsourcing: Evidence from Australian Manufacturing," Discussion Papers 2012-07, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  2. David Card & Jörg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2013. "Workplace Heterogeneity and the Rise of West German Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 967-1015.
  3. Sasan Bakhtiari, 2013. "Firm Size Evolution and Outsourcing," Discussion Papers 2013-07, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  4. Sasan Bakhtiari & Robert Breunig, 2012. "Outsourcing and Innovation: An Empirical Study of Causes and Effects," Discussion Papers 2012-35, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.

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