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Offshoring, labour market institutions and the elasticity of labour demand

  • Hijzen, Alexander
  • Swaim, Paul

This paper analyses the evolution of the elasticity of labour demand and the possible role of offshoring therein using industry-level data for a large number of OECD countries. The first main finding is that the wage elasticity of labour demand has increased substantially since 1980, although some of this increase may reflect a trend increase in the speed of adjustment rather than an increase in the long-run wage elasticity. The evidence on the potential contribution of offshoring to raising labour demand elasticity is mixed. No association is found between increases in offshoring and demand elasticity during the second half of the 1990s, but there is a significant cross-sectional association between higher average offshoring intensity during this period and higher demand elasticity. We also find some evidence that strict employment protection legislation weakens the cross-sectional association between offshoring and higher labour demand elasticity, suggesting that the relationship between offshoring and the labour demand elasticity may depend on the national institutional environment.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 54 (2010)
Issue (Month): 8 (November)
Pages: 1016-1034

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:54:y:2010:i:8:p:1016-1034
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