The Muddles over Outsourcing
Critics 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.
Volume (Year): 18 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html|
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 1982. "Introduction to "Import Competition and Response"," NBER Chapters,in: Import Competition and Response, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:ucp:bknber:9780226045382 is not listed on IDEAS
- Richard A. Brecher, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116.
- 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..
- Lori G. Kletzer, 2001. "Job Loss from Imports: Measuring the Costs," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 110, November.
- Katherine Baicker & Marit M. Rehavi, 2004. "Policy Watch: Trade Adjustment Assistance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 239-255, Spring.
- Lori G. Kletzer & Robert E. Litan, 2001. "A Prescription to Relieve Worker Anxiety," Policy Briefs PB01-02, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- 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.
- Raymond Vernon, 1966. "International Investment and International Trade in the Product Cycle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 190-207.
- Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 1982. "Import Competition and Response," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bhag82-1.
- Paul A. Samuelson, 2004. "Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 135-146, Summer.
- Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 2004. "In Defense of Globalization: It Has a Human Face," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(6), pages 9-20, November-.
- Brecher, Richard A., 1974. "Optimal commercial policy for a minimum-wage economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 139-149, May.
- Panagariya, Arvind, 1981. "Variable Returns to Scale in Production and Patterns of Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 221-230, March.
- Frank D. Graham, 1923. "Some Aspects of Protection Further Considered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 199-227.
- Ralph E. Gomory & William J. Baumol, 2001. "Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262072092, July.
- Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 1968. "Distortions and Immiserizing Growth: a Generalization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(4), pages 481-485.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:18:y:2004:i:4:p:93-114. 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: (Jane Voros)or (Michael P. Albert)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.