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Offshoring of routine tasks and (de)industrialisation: Threat or opportunity--And for whom?

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  • Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric

Abstract

Offshoring, or overseas sourcing of routine tasks, generates efficiency gains that benefit consumers and workers with skills similar to those whose very jobs are threatened by offshoring. Essentially, the interaction between offshoring, footloose capital and agglomeration economies locks the comparative advantage of advanced nations in complex or strategic functions while labour services in 'routine' tasks, the coordination of which is easily codified, are provided by low-wage developing nations through the fibre optic cable. In this framework, the partial-equilibrium view that offshoring is necessarily detrimental to workers in advanced nations is misguided because the implicit counterfactual--that keeping the off-shored jobs would have no macroeconomic impact on the economy--is not warranted. In addition, inasmuch as routine tasks create few positive feedbacks, trade in tasks can be an impediment to income convergence, unlike trade in goods. In short, this paper qualifies the views that offshoring hurts workers in the North and accelerates income convergence between the North and the South.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2008. "Offshoring of routine tasks and (de)industrialisation: Threat or opportunity--And for whom?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 517-535, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:63:y:2008:i:2:p:517-535
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Frensch & Jan Hanousek & Evžen Kocenda, 2012. "Incomplete specialization and offshoring across Europe," FIW Working Paper series 091, FIW.
    2. Fabien Candau, 2013. "Trade, FDI and Migration," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(3), pages 441-461, September.
    3. Philipp Harms & Oliver Lorz & Dieter Urban, 2012. "Offshoring along the production chain," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(1), pages 93-106, February.
    4. Joseph Francois & Bernard Hoekman, 2010. "Services Trade and Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 642-692, September.
    5. Nicole Litzel & Joachim Möller, 2011. "Industrial Clusters and Economic Integration: Theoretic Concepts and an Application to the European Metropolitan Region Nuremberg," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume II, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. World Bank, 2009. "The Service Revolution in South Asia," World Bank Other Operational Studies 19332, The World Bank.
    7. Miren Lafourcade & Jacques-François Thisse, 2011. "New Economic Geography: The Role of Transport Costs," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Zoltan Gal, 2013. "New Bangalores - The role of Central and Eastern Europe in business and IT services offshoring," Journal of Economic Development, Environment and People, Alliance of Central-Eastern European Universities, vol. 2(3), pages 77-100, September.
    9. Abigail Cooke & Thomas Kemeny & David L. Rigby, 2016. "Task Trade and the Wage Effects of Import Competition," Working Papers 16-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    10. Kristian Behrens & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2009. "Krugman's "Papers in Regional Science": The 100 dollar bill on the sidewalk is gone and the 2008 Nobel Prize well-deserved," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(2), pages 467-489, June.
    11. repec:taf:specan:v:11:y:2016:i:4:p:392-412 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Gagliardi, Luisa & Iammarino, Simona & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2015. "Offshoring and the Geography of Jobs in Great Britain," CEPR Discussion Papers 10855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Fabrice Defever, "undated". "Incomplete Contracts and the Impact of Globalization on Consumer Welfare," Discussion Papers 11/08, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    14. Liao, Wen-Chi, 2012. "Inshoring: The geographic fragmentation of production and inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-16.
    15. Thomas Kemeny & David Rigby, 2012. "Trading away what kind of jobs? Globalization, trade and tasks in the US economy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(1), pages 1-16, April.
    16. Richard Frensch, 2010. "European trade in parts and components : searching (for a trade model for searching) for offshoring evidence," Working Papers 280, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    17. Zhou, Yiming & Zeng, Dao-Zhi, 2015. "Offshoring, globalization, and welfare," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 75-93.
    18. Sandrine Noblet & Antoine Belgodere, 2016. "Coordination Costs and the Geography of Production," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 392-412, October.

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