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Trade, offshoring, and the invisible handshake

Listed author(s):
  • Karabay, Bilgehan
  • McLaren, John

We study the effect of globalization on the volatility of wages and worker welfare in a model in which risk is allocated through long-run employment relationships (the 'invisible handshake'). Globalization can take two forms: international integration of commodity markets (i.e., free trade) and international integration of factor markets (i.e., offshoring). In a two-country, two-good, two-factor model we show that free trade and offshoring have opposite effects on rich-country workers. Free trade hurts rich-country workers, while reducing the volatility of their wages; by contrast, offshoring benefits them, while raising the volatility of their wages. We thus formalize, but also sharply circumscribe, a common critique of globalization.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 82 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 26-34

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:82:y:2010:i:1:p:26-34
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  1. 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.
  2. Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2007. "Offshoring and Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 2805, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 135-159.
  4. Ramey Garey & Watson Joel, 2001. "Bilateral Trade and Opportunism in a Matching Market," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-35, November.
  5. Matusz, Steven J, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Unemployment and International Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 307-322, June.
  6. Mary Amiti & Shang-Jin Wei, 2005. "Fear of service outsourcing: is it justified?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(42), pages 308-347, 04.
  7. Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "Breach of Trust in Hostile Takeovers," NBER Chapters, in: Corporate Takeovers: Causes and Consequences, pages 33-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daniel A. Traca, 2005. "Globalization, Wage Volatility, and the Welfare of Workers," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 237-249, 05.
  9. Malcomson, James M., 1999. "Individual employment contracts," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 2291-2372 Elsevier.
  10. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  11. Steven J. Matusz, 1985. "The Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model with Implicit Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1313-1329.
  12. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-1997, December.
  13. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
  14. Marianne Bertrand, 2004. "From the Invisible Handshake to the Invisible Hand? How Import Competition Changes the Employment Relationship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 723-766, October.
  15. Jonathan Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1988. "Self-Enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 541-554.
  16. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-480, March.
  17. Valletta, Robert G, 1999. "Declining Job Security," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 170-197, October.
  18. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
  19. Catherine L. Mann, 2003. "Globalization of IT Services and White Collar Jobs: The Next Wave of Productivity Growth," Policy Briefs PB03-11, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  20. James Ted McDonald & Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Wages, Implicit Contracts, and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Canadian Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 884-913, August.
  21. repec:hrv:faseco:4784031 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Mary Amiti & Shang-Jin Wei, 2006. "Service Offshoring and Productivity: Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 11926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609.
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