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Alternative Measures of Offshorability: A Survey Approach

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  • Alan S. Blinder

    (Princeton University)

  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

This paper reports on a pilot study of the use of conventional household survey methods to measure something unconventional: what we call offshorability, defined as the ability to perform one’s work duties (for the same employer and customers) from abroad. Notice that offshorability is a characteristic of a person’s job, not of the person himself. We see this research as important for two main reasons. First, one of us has argued previously that offshoring is potentially a very important labor market phenomenon in the United States and elsewhere, perhaps eventually amounting to a third Industrial Revolution. In the first Industrial Revolution, the share of the U.S. workforce engaged in agriculture declined by over 80 percentage points. In the second Industrial Revolution, which is still in progress, the share of American workers employed in manufacturing has declined by almost 25 percentage points so far, with most of the migration going to the service sector. The estimates presented here, like those of Blinder (2009b), suggest that the share of U.S. workers performing what Blinder (2006) called impersonal service jobs (defined precisely below) might shrink significantly while the share performing personal service jobs rises. Second, while readers must judge for themselves, we deem the pilot study to have been successful by several criteria that we will explain later. So we hope our survey methods will be replicated, improved upon, and eventually incorporated into some regular government survey, such as the Current Population Survey (CPS). Doing so would enable the U.S. government to track this important phenomenon over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1169.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:190blinder

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Keywords: offshore; labor migration; employment trends;

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References

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  1. Katharine G. Abraham & James R. Spletzer & Michael Harper, 2010. "Labor in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra08-1.
  2. Morris M. Kleiner & Alan B. Krueger, 2010. "The Prevalence and Effects of Occupational Licensing," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(4), pages 676-687, December.
  3. Jagdish Bhagwati & Alan S. Blinder, 2009. "Offshoring of American Jobs: What Response from U.S. Economic Policy?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262013320 edited by Benjamin M. Friedman, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2013. "The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1553-97, August.
  2. Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2011. "Wage inequality in trade-in-tasks models," CPB Discussion Paper 196, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  3. Autor, David, 2013. "The "Task Approach" to Labor Markets: An Overview," IZA Discussion Papers 7178, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Wright, Greg C., 2014. "Revisiting the employment impact of offshoring," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 63-83.
  5. Wei, Xuan & Meng, Xianwei, 2013. "A Structural Estimation of the Employment Effects of Offshoring in the U.S. Labor Market," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150730, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Rosario Crinò, 2012. "Service Offshoring and the Skill Composition of Labour Demand," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(1), pages 20-57, 02.
  7. Petri, Böckerman & Seppo, Laaksonen & Jari, Vainiomäki, 2013. "Is there job polarization at the firm level?," MPRA Paper 50833, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Cosimo BEVERELLI & Gianluca OREFICE & Nadia ROCHA, 2011. "Offshoring and migration in a world with policy spillovers," Departmental Working Papers 2011-25, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  9. Antoni, Manfred & Janser, Markus & Lehmer, Florian, 2014. "The hidden winners of renewable energy promotion : insights into sector-specific wage differentials," IAB Discussion Paper 201412, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  10. David Amirault & Paul Fenton & Thérèse Laflèche, 2013. "Asking About Wages: Results from the Bank of Canada’s Wage Setting Survey of Canadian Companies," Discussion Papers 13-1, Bank of Canada.
  11. Basco, Sergi & Mestieri, Martí, 2013. "Heterogeneous trade costs and wage inequality: A model of two globalizations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 393-406.
  12. Runjuan Liu & Daniel Trefler, 2011. "A Sorted Tale of Globalization: White Collar Jobs and the Rise of Service Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 17559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ledia Guci & Charles Ian Mead, 2014. "Domestic Trade in Services in Regional Input-Output Models," BEA Working Papers 0106, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  14. Wei, Xuan & Meng, Xianwei & Thornsbury, Suzanne, 2013. "A Structural Estimation of the Employment Effects of Offshoring in the U.S. Labor Market," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151278, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  15. Thomas Kemeny & David Rigby, 2012. "Trading away what kind of jobs? Globalization, trade and tasks in the US economy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 1-16, April.
  16. Semih Akcomak & Suzanne Kok & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2013. "The effects of technology and offshoring on changes in employment and task-content of occupations," CPB Discussion Paper 233, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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