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Revisiting the employment impact of offshoring

  • Wright, Greg C.

The productivity gains due to offshoring may, in part, accrue to workers. This paper estimates the magnitude of these gains and compares it to the magnitude of employment loss due to worker displacement. A model based on the production task framework from Grossman and Rossi-Hansberg (2008) is used to demonstrate that the effect of offshoring depends on the intensity of use of these tasks and, ultimately, impacts domestic employment through three channels: a direct displacement effect, which negatively impacts employment; an output effect generated by the productivity gains from offshoring, which reorganizes and increases aggregate production in the economy and impacts domestic employment positively; and a substitution effect among factors and tasks, which has an ambiguous effect. Using the model's structure as a roadmap and applying it to detailed U.S. manufacturing sector data over 2001–2007, results from GMM 3SLS regressions provide overall support for the structure and predictions of the tasks model of offshoring. In particular, the economic magnitude of the productivity gains is found to have been important.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 66 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 63-83

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:66:y:2014:i:c:p:63-83
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