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Outsourcing in East Asia and its impact on the Japanese and Korean Labour Markets

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  • Sanghoon Ahn
  • Kyoji Fukao
  • Keiko Ito

Abstract

This study describes the changing patterns of intermediate goods trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in East Asia and investigates the impacts of international outsourcing on the Japanese and the Korean labour markets. The main findings of the paper are as follows. First, intra-regional trade in East Asia grew remarkably during the period 1990-2003. While overall trade with the rest of the world roughly doubled in this period, intra-regional trade in East Asia more than tripled. Second, the main factor behind increased intra-regional trade in East Asia was the trade in intermediate goods through outsourcing and the international fragmentation of production. Third, reflecting the fact that outsourcing to Asia (particularly to China) has a negative impact on the demand for workers with lower education and a positive impact on the demand for workers with higher education, relative wage shares of workers by educational attainment have changed substantially both in Japan and Korea. Fourth, our empirical analysis provides evidence of labour demand shift towards skilled labour in Japanese manufacturing as a result of outsourcing. For Korea, although the overall effects of outsourcing have been insignificant in Korea partly because a substantial part of Korean outsourcing remained directed towards Japan, our results imply that labour demand would shift away from less-skilled workers towards more-skilled workers if outsourcing to China increased and outsourcing to Japan decreased in the future.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/244366638573
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Trade Policy Papers with number 65.

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Date of creation: 22 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oec:traaab:65-en

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Keywords: Korea; Japan; outsourcing; manufacturing; labour demand; skill upgrading;

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Cited by:
  1. Ralph Paprzycki & Keiko Ito, 2010. "Investment, Production and Trade Networks as Drivers of East Asian Integration," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-117, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Lee Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley, 2007. "Facts and Fallacies about U.S. FDI in China," NBER Working Papers 13470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ahn, Sanghoon & Fukao, Kyoji & Ito, Keiko, 2009. "The Impact of Outsourcing on the Japanese and South Korean Labor Markets: International Outsourcing of Intermediate Inputs and Assembly in East Asia," CEI Working Paper Series 2008-27, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  4. Martin Falk & Yvonne Wolfmayr, 2008. "International Outsourcing and Productivity Growth," FIW Research Reports series I-017, FIW.
  5. Fergal McCann, 2009. "Outsourcing and Firm Productivity in Irish Manufacturing," FIW Working Paper series 021, FIW.
  6. Sanghoon Ahn & Jong-Wha Lee, 2007. "Integration and Growth in East Asia," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 25(S1), pages 131-168, December.
  7. Nobuaki Yamashita & Kyoji Fukao, 2008. "Expansion Abroad and Jobs at Home: Evidence from Japanese Multinational Enterprises," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 377, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  8. Lin, Songhua & Ma, Alyson C., 2012. "Outsourcing and productivity: Evidence from Korean data," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 39-49.
  9. Elia, Stefano & Mariotti, Ilaria & Piscitello, Lucia, 2009. "The impact of outward FDI on the home country's labour demand and skill composition," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 357-372, August.
  10. Guido Friebel & Helena Schweiger, 2012. "Management quality, firm performance and market pressure in Russia," Working Papers 144, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist.
  11. Lee Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley, 2010. "Facts and Fallacies about U.S. FDI in China," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 513-539 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kiyoyasu Tanaka, 2009. "Producer Services and Manufacturing Productivity: Evidence from Japan Industrial Productivity Database," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-076, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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