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A Simple Model of Offshore Outsourcing,Technology Upgrading and Welfare

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  • Jae-won Jung

    ()
    (THEMA, Université de Cergy-Pontoise.)

  • Jean Mercenier

    ()
    (ERMES, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2))

Abstract

We adapt Yeaple's (2005) heterogeneous agents framework to model firms in the North as making explicit offshore outsourcing decisions to cheap-labor economies. Globalization results from a lowering of the set-up costs incurred when engaging in offshore activities. We highlight how firms'technology transformations due to global- ization will induce skill upgrading in the North, increase aggregate productivity, av- erage wages and therefore total welfare at the cost of increased wage inequalities. We analytically derive mild conditions under which all consumers-including lower-skilled workers-will nevertheless gain from the surge of offshore outsourcing. A parameter- ized version of the model roughly calibrated on U.S. data is then numerically explored and confirms our positive welfare predictions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise in its series THEMA Working Papers with number 2008-21.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:2008-21

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Keywords: Offshore outsourcing; Globalization; Skill upgrading; Technology upgrading; Firm heterogeneity;

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  1. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
  2. Becker, Sascha & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2012. "Offshoring and the Onshore Composition of Tasks and Skills," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 97, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  3. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Scholarly Articles 3445092, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585, May.
  5. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  6. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  7. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, December.
  8. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," NBER Working Papers 5121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. N. Gregory Mankiw & Phillip Swagel, 2006. "The Politics and Economics of Offshore Outsourcing," NBER Working Papers 12398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert C. Feenstra, 2007. "Globalization and Its Impact on Labour," wiiw Working Papers 44, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  11. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Davide Castellani & Anne-Célia Disdier, 2006. "How Does Investing in Cheap Labour Countries Affect Performance at Home? France and Italy," Development Working Papers 215, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  12. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-73, October.
  13. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Offshore production and skill upgrading by Japanese manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 81-105, October.
  14. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alan Deardorf, 2005. "Gains from Trade and Fragmentation," Working Papers 543, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  16. Conyon, Martin J, et al, 2002. "The Productivity and Wage Effects of Foreign Acquisition in the United Kingdom," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 85-102, March.
  17. Deardorff, Alan V., 2006. "Comment on Mankiw and Swagel, "The politics and economics of offshore outsourcing"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1057-1061, July.
  18. Mark E. Doms & J . Bradford Jensen, 1998. "Comparing Wages, Skills, and Productivity between Domestically and Foreign-Owned Manufacturing Establishments in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting, pages 235-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "The rise of offshoring: it's not wine for cloth anymore," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 59-102.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jaewon Jung & Jean Mercenier, 2010. "Routinization-Biased Technical Change, Globalization and Labor Market Polarization: Does Theory Fit the Facts?," Working Papers halshs-00856105, HAL.
  2. Philipp Harms & Jaewon Jung & Oliver Lorz, 2014. "Offshoring and Sequential Production Chains: A General-Equilibrium Analysis," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201402, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  3. Emily Blanchard & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Trade, Education, and the Shrinking Middle Class," CESifo Working Paper Series 4141, CESifo Group Munich.

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