IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v62y2013icp73-97.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Offshoring, wages, and employment: Theory and evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Sethupathy, Guru

Abstract

This paper investigates the wage and employment effects of offshoring. I use firm-level data and two events in Mexico as a natural experiment to identify the effects of a fall in the marginal cost of offshoring to Mexico. I find that domestic wages actually rise at US firms likely to take advantage of this new offshoring opportunity. At the same time, domestic wages fall at US firms unlikely to take advantage of this opportunity. Furthermore, I find no evidence of greater domestic job loss at the former compared to the latter firms. These findings are consistent with productivity effects from offshoring. To explain the mechanism, I develop a theoretical framework that combines heterogeneous firms with imperfect labor markets and rent-sharing. Firms likely to take advantage of new offshoring opportunities increase their productivity and profitability at the expense of their competitors. Through rent-sharing, this channel leads to higher domestic wages at the former firms relative to the latter. Further, there is no empirical evidence of greater domestic job loss at the firms likely to expand their offshoring compared to their competitors that are unlikely to increase their offshoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Sethupathy, Guru, 2013. "Offshoring, wages, and employment: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 73-97.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:62:y:2013:i:c:p:73-97
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2013.04.004
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292113000536
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2013.04.004?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tom Krebs & Pravin Krishna & William Maloney, 2010. "Trade Policy, Income Risk, and Welfare," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 467-481, August.
    2. Blomstrom, Magnus & Fors, Gunnar & Lipsey, Robert E, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment and Employment: Home Country Experience in the United States and Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1787-1797, November.
    3. DEL GATTO, Massimo & MION, Giordano & OTTAVIANO, Gianmarco I.P., 2006. "Trade integration, firm selection and the costs of non-Europe," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2006061, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. 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.
    5. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
    6. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Sascha O. Becker & Karolina Ekholm & Robert Jäckle & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2005. "Location Choice and Employment Decisions: A Comparison of German and Swedish Multinationals," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 141(4), pages 693-731, December.
    9. 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.
    10. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    11. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214, Elsevier.
    12. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Swagel, Phillip, 2006. "The politics and economics of offshore outsourcing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1027-1056, July.
    13. Marc J. Melitz & Giancarlo I. P. Ottaviano, 2021. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Firms and Workers in a Globalized World Larger Markets, Tougher Competition, chapter 4, pages 87-108, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    14. Maarten Goos & Jozef Konings, 2001. "Does Rent-Sharing Exist in Belgium ?. An Empirical Analysis Using Firm Level Data," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 65-79.
    15. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 81-94, March.
    16. Maria Borga & William J. Zeile, 2004. "International Fragmentation of Production and the Intrafirm Trade of U.s. Multinational Companies," BEA Papers 0035, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    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. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labor Market Effects of Trade Liberalization," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 10, pages 265-306, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    19. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 11717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    21. Krishna, Pravin & Poole, Jennifer P. & Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2014. "Wage Effects of Trade Reform with Endogenous Worker Mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 239-252.
    22. Henrik Braconier & Karolina Ekholm, 2000. "Swedish Multinationals and Competition from High‐ and Low‐Wage Locations," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 448-461, August.
    23. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, July.
    24. Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2004. "Economic Insecurity and the Globalization of Production," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 48(4), pages 662-674, October.
    25. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    26. 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..
    27. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
    28. Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2007. "Offshoring and Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 2805, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    29. Karabay, Bilgehan & McLaren, John, 2010. "Trade, offshoring, and the invisible handshake," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 26-34, September.
    30. 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.
    31. Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "International trade and labor-demand elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 27-56, June.
    32. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    33. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Peter Sanfey, 1996. "Wages, Profits, and Rent-Sharing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 227-251.
    34. repec:hrv:faseco:4784031 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Offshore production and skill upgrading by Japanese manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 81-105, October.
    36. Braconier, Henrik & Ekholm, Karolina, 2000. "Swedish Multinationals and Competition from High- and Low-Wage Locations," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 448-461, August.
    37. Ann E. Harrison & Margaret S. McMillan, 2006. "Outsourcing Jobs? Multinationals and US Employment," NBER Working Papers 12372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. Liu, Runjuan & Trefler, Daniel, 2019. "A sorted tale of globalization: White collar jobs and the rise of service offshoring," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 105-122.
    39. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2012. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-36.
    40. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    41. Hartmut Egger & Peter Egger, 2003. "Outsourcing and skill-specific employment in a small economy: Austria after the fall of the Iron Curtain," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 625-643, October.
    42. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    43. Jozef Konings & Alan Patrick Murphy, 2006. "Do Multinational Enterprises Relocate Employment to Low-Wage Regions? Evidence from European Multinationals," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 142(2), pages 267-286, July.
    44. Michael Pfaffermayr & Peter Egger & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Sectoral adjustment of employment to shifts in outsourcing and trade: evidence from a dynamic fixed effects multinomial logit model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 559-580.
    45. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
    46. 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.
    47. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 12, pages 1043-1171, Elsevier.
    48. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
    49. Runjuan Liu & Daniel Trefler, 2008. "Much Ado About Nothing: American Jobs and the Rise of Service Outsourcing to China and India," NBER Working Papers 14061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    50. Becker Sascha O & Muendler Marc-Andreas, 2008. "The Effect of FDI on Job Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-46, April.
    51. Jakob Roland Munch, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Individual Job Separations," Discussion Papers 05-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    52. Marcello Estevao & Stacey Tevlin, 2003. "Do Firms Share their Success with Workers? The Response of Wages to Product Market Conditions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(280), pages 597-617, November.
    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. 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.
    2. David Hummels & Jakob R. Munch & Chong Xiang, 2018. "Offshoring and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(3), pages 981-1028, September.
    3. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2017. "Trade, technology, and prosperity: An account of evidence from a labor-market perspective," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2017-15, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    4. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, July.
    5. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2012. "The Empirics of Firm Heterogeneity and International Trade," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 283-313, July.
    6. Monte, Ferdinando, 2011. "Skill bias, trade, and wage dispersion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 202-218, March.
    7. Thomas Kemeny & David Rigby & Abigail Cooke, 2015. "Cheap Imports and the Loss of US Manufacturing Jobs," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(10), pages 1555-1573, October.
    8. Melitz, Marc J. & Redding, Stephen J., 2014. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," Handbook of International Economics, in: Gopinath, G. & Helpman, . & Rogoff, K. (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 1-54, Elsevier.
    9. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen J. Redding, 2017. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 357-405.
    10. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Fairness, Trade, and Inequality," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 12, pages 339-380, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    11. Nicola Gagliardi & Benoît Mahy & François Rycx, 2020. "Trade, GVCs, and wage inequality: Theoretical and empirical insights," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(2), pages 115-134.
    12. Dobbelaere, Sabien & Kiyota, Kozo, 2018. "Labor market imperfections, markups and productivity in multinationals and exporters," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 198-212.
    13. Ann Harrison & John McLaren & Margaret S. McMillan, 2010. "Recent Findings on Trade and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 16425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Blanas, Sotiris, 2012. "Intra-firm trade and employment in US manufacturing," Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers 458, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    15. Ann Harrison & John McLaren & Margaret McMillan, 2011. "Recent Perspectives on Trade and Inequality," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 261-289, September.
    16. A. Kerem Co?ar & Nezih Guner & James Tybout, 2016. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 625-663, March.
    17. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Trade and Labor Market Outcomes," CEP Discussion Papers dp1028, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    18. Jonathan Haskel & Robert Z. Lawrence & Edward E. Leamer & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2012. "Globalization and U.S. Wages: Modifying Classic Theory to Explain Recent Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 119-140, Spring.
    19. Koch, Michael, 2014. "Skills, Tasks and the Scarcity of Talent in a Global Economy," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100337, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    20. Krishna, Pravin & Poole, Jennifer P. & Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2014. "Wage Effects of Trade Reform with Endogenous Worker Mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 239-252.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Offshoring; Wages; Employment; Productivity; Heterogeneous firms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

    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:eee:eecrev:v:62:y:2013:i:c:p:73-97. 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: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    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: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    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.