The Muddles over Outsourcing
AbstractCritics have muddled the public debate over offshore outsourcing by using the term interchangeably to refer to altogether different phenomena such as on-line purchase of services, direct foreign investment and, sometimes, all imports. We argue that clarity requires distinguishing among these various phenomena and define outsourcing explicitly as the services trade at arm's length that does not require geographical proximity of the buyer and the seller—the so-called Mode 1 services in the WTO terminology—conducted principally via the electronic mediums such as the telephone, fax and Internet. The definition is appropriate because this is the phenomenon that is relatively new and scary in public consciousness and has fueled the recent “outsourcing” debate. Under this definition, the total number of the U.S. jobs outsourced annually is minuscule and is expected to remain so over the next decade, even on a gross basis (i.e., without adjusting for the jobs in-sourced from the U.S.). The fears that offshore outsourcing will lead to high-value jobs being replaced by low-value jobs down the road are also argued here to be implausible in view of several qualitative arguments to the contrary. We also demonstrate that offshore outsourcing of Mode 1 services raises no new analytical issues, contrary to what many fear. Thus, it leads to gains from trade (with the standard caveats applicable to conventional trade in goods) and, in specific cases, to income-distribution effects.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 0408004.
Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 28 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 47
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://188.8.131.52
Outsourcing; WTO; Services;
Other versions of this item:
- F1 - International Economics - - Trade
- F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Samuelson, Paul A., 1971. "An exact Hume-Ricardo-Marshall model of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, February.
- Findlay, Ronald, 1970. "Factor Proportions and Comparative Advantage in the Long Run," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 27-34, Jan.-Feb..
- Bhagwati, Jagdish (ed.), 1982. "Import Competition and Response," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226045382, July.
- Panagariya, Arvind, 1981. "Variable Returns to Scale in Production and Patterns of Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 221-30, March.
- Lori G. Kletzer & Robert E. Litan, 2001. "A Prescription to Relieve Worker Anxiety," Policy Briefs PB01-02, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- Brecher, Richard A, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116, February.
- Brecher, Richard A., 1974. "Optimal commercial policy for a minimum-wage economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 139-149, May.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.