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Evaluating Estimates of Materials Offshoring from U.S. Manufacturing

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  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • J. Bradford Jensen

Abstract

When materials offshoring is measured by estimating imported intermediate inputs, a common assumption used is that an industry’s imports of each input, relative to its total demand, is the same as the economy-wide imports relative to total demand: this is the so-called “import comparability” or “proportionality” assumption. A report to the National Research Council identified this assumption as being a significant limitation of current data collection and analysis. In this note we move beyond this assumption to obtain a direct measure of imported materials by industry for the United States in 1997. At the 3-digit I-O industry level, there is a correlation of 0.68 between the offshoring shares made with and without the proportionality assumption, and a higher correlation of 0.87 when the shares are value weighted. While most value-weighted industry have differences below 50 percentage points in the two estimates, there is significant number of cases that differ by 10 percentage points or more.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17916.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Publication status: published as Feenstra, Robert C. & Jensen, J. Bradford, 2012. "Evaluating estimates of materials offshoring from US manufacturing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 170-173.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17916

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References

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  1. Puzzello, Laura, 2012. "A proportionality assumption and measurement biases in the factor content of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 105-111.
  2. Feenstra, Robert C. & Jensen, J. Bradford, 2012. "Evaluating estimates of materials offshoring from US manufacturing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 170-173.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2005. "Importers, Exporters, and Multinationals: A Portrait of Firms in the U.S. that Trade Goods," Working Paper Series WP05-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  4. Susan Houseman & Christopher Kurz & Paul Lengermann & Benjamin Mandel, 2011. "Offshoring Bias in U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 111-32, Spring.
  5. Deborah Winkler, William Milberg, 2009. "WP 2009-12 Errors from the “Proportionality Assumption†in the Measurement of Offshoring: Application to German Labor Demand," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2009-12, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
  6. Robert C. Feenstra, 1996. "U.S. Imports, 1972-1994: Data and Concordances," NBER Working Papers 5515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. João Amador & Sónia Cabral, 2014. "Global Value Chains: Surveying Drivers, Measures and Impacts," Working Papers w201403, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  2. Timmer, Marcel P. & Los, Bart & Stehrer, Robert & de Vries, Gaaitzen, 2013. "Fragmentation, incomes and jobs: an analysis of European competitiveness," Working Paper Series 1615, European Central Bank.
  3. Castellani, Davide & De Benedictis, Luca & Horgos, Daniel, 2013. "Can we really trust offshoring indices?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 159-172.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Gino Gancia & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2012. "Offshoring and Directed Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 18595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert Koopman & Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2014. "Tracing Value-Added and Double Counting in Gross Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 459-94, February.
  6. Basco, Sergi, 2013. "Financial development and the product cycle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 295-313.
  7. Warda, Peter, 2013. "Labor Decomposition: A Firm Level Analysis on Import Quality and Labor Demand," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 322, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  8. Tillmann Schwörer, 2013. "Offshoring, domestic outsourcing and productivity: evidence for a number of European countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 149(1), pages 131-149, March.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & J. Bradford Jensen, 2012. "Evaluating Estimates of Materials Offshoring from U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 17916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Tillmann Schwörer, 2012. "Offshoring, Domestic Outsourcing, and Productivity: Evidence for a Number of European Countries," Kiel Working Papers 1786, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  11. Robert Koopman & William Powers & Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Tracing Value Added in Global Production Chains," NBER Working Papers 16426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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