IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v98y2008i5p1978-97.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring

Author

Listed:
  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Abstract

We propose a theory of the global production process that focuses on tradeable tasks, and use it to study how falling costs of offshoring affect factor prices in the source country. We identify a productivity effect of task trade that benefits the factor whose tasks are more easily moved offshore. In the light of this effect, reductions in the cost of trading tasks can generate shared gains for all domestic factors, in contrast to the distributional conflict that typically results from reductions in the cost of trading goods. (JEL F11, F16)

Suggested Citation

  • Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-1997, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:5:p:1978-97
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.5.1978
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.98.5.1978
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Papers 95-14, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    2. Deardorff, A.V., 1998. "Fragmentation Across Cones," Working Papers 427, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    3. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Globalization and the empowerment of talent," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 209-223.
    4. Alan V. Deardorff, 2011. "Fragmentation in simple trade models," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Robert M Stern (ed.), Comparative Advantage, Growth, And The Gains From Trade And Globalization A Festschrift in Honor of Alan V Deardorff, chapter 16, pages 165-181, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. David L. Hummels & Dana Rapoport & Kei-Mu Yi, 1998. "Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 4(Jun), pages 79-99.
    6. Dalia Marin & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Globalization and the New Enterprise," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 337-344, 04/05.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:4784031 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Edward E Leamer & Michael Storper, 2001. "The Economic Geography of the Internet Age," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 32(4), pages 641-665, December.
    9. Pol Antràs & Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 31-77.
    10. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Managerial incentives and the international organization of production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 237-262, July.
    11. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 135-159.
    12. Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "Aspects of International Fragmentation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 793-816, November.
    13. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Vertical Production Networks in Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 664-678, November.
    14. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
    15. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
    16. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
    17. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    18. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "What's the Use of Factor Contents?," NBER Working Papers 5448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration versus Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120.
    21. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    22. Wolfgang F. Stolper & Paul A. Samuelson, 1941. "Protection and Real Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 58-73.
    23. Krugman, Paul R., 2000. "Technology, trade and factor prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 51-71, February.
    24. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
    25. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The Evolving External Orientation of Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 5919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni, Jr. & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Expansion Strategies of U.S. Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 8433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Pol Antràs & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2009. "Organizations and Trade," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 43-64, May.
    2. Amador, João & Cabral, Sónia, 2009. "Vertical specialization across the world: A relative measure," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 267-280, December.
    3. Rosario Crinò, 2009. "Offshoring, Multinationals And Labour Market: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 197-249, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Li, Ben & Lu, Yi, 2009. "Geographic concentration and vertical disintegration: Evidence from China," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 294-304, May.
    6. João Amador & Sónia Cabral, 2014. "Global Value Chains: Surveying Drivers, Measures and Impacts," Working Papers w201403, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    7. Amador, João & Cabral, Sónia, 2008. "International fragmentation of production in the Portuguese economy: What do different measures tell us?," MPRA Paper 9783, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Pol Antràs & Robert W. Staiger, 2012. "Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3140-3183, December.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi‐Hansberg, 2012. "Task Trade Between Similar Countries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 593-629, March.
    10. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 589-630, September.
    11. Liza Jabbour, 2012. "‘Slicing the Value Chain’ Internationally: Empirical Evidence on the Offshoring Strategy by French Firms," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(11), pages 1417-1447, November.
    12. Amelia U. Santos-Paulino & Mariagrazia Squicciarini & Peilei Fan, 2008. "R&D (Re)location: A Bird's Eye (Re)view," WIDER Working Paper Series RP2008-100, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Du, Julan & Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2009. "Bi-sourcing in the global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 215-222, April.
    14. Baldwin, Richard & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2014. "Trade-in-goods and trade-in-tasks: An integrating framework," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 51-62.
    15. Sethupathy, Guru, 2013. "Offshoring, wages, and employment: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 73-97.
    16. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
    17. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    18. Blyde, Juan & Molina, Danielken, 2015. "Logistic infrastructure and the international location of fragmented production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 319-332.
    19. Richard Baldwin & Javier Lopez-Gonzalez, 2015. "Supply-chain Trade: A Portrait of Global Patterns and Several Testable Hypotheses," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(11), pages 1682-1721, November.
    20. Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Furukawa, Yuichi, 2013. "A Simple Theory of Offshoring and Reshoring," MPRA Paper 44557, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2013.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:5:p:1978-97. See general 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.