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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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  1. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri & Greg C. Wright, 2010. "Immigration, offshoring and American jobs," Working Paper Research 205, National Bank of Belgium.
  2. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2009. "The Growth of Low Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 15150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan S. Blinder, 2009. "How Many US Jobs Might be Offshorable?," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 10(2), pages 41-78, April.
  4. Becker, Sascha & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2012. "Offshoring and the Onshore Composition of Tasks and Skills," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 97, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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  6. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
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  8. Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2013. "Alternative Measures of Offshorability: A Survey Approach," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages S97 - S128.
  9. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, December.
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  12. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2009. "Task Specialization, Immigration and Wages," Working Papers 91, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  13. Philipp Ehrl, 2014. "Task trade and the employment pattern: the offshoring and onshoring of Brazilian firms," Working Papers 151, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  14. Holger Görg & Aoife Hanley & Eric Strobl, 2008. "Productivity effects of international outsourcing: evidence from plant-level data," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 670-688, May.
  15. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  16. Moser, Christoph & Urban, Dieter M & Weder di Mauro, Beatrice, 2009. "Offshoring, Firm Performance and Establishment-Level Employment: Identifying Productivity and Downsizing Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 7455, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333.
  18. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2009. "Domestic Effects of the Foreign Activities of US Multinationals," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 181-203, February.
  19. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
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