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Offshoring in the service sector : economic impact and policy issues

  • C. Alan Garner
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    The United States continues to run an international trade surplus in services, but business stories frequently appear about service-sector jobs moving offshore. Many Americans are particularly concerned about the loss of skilled, well-paid jobs in such fields as computer programming and accounting. These jobs seemed relatively secure at a time when many manufacturing jobs were being lost to import competition. Similarly, telephone call centers, once viewed as an economic development opportunity in some areas, increasingly are moving to low-wage countries, such as India and the Philippines. Reflecting this growing concern, some members of Congress and state legislators have focused attention on the offshoring of service jobs and production, even introducing legislation to limit the outsourcing of jobs to other countries. Offshoring raises many questions for policymakers and the general public. For example, which service jobs will be affected most by import competition? What are the most likely effects of service-sector offshoring on U.S. output, employment, and, most important, our standard of living? Is offshoring really a problem that requires restrictive government actions, or are other kinds of policies more appropriate to give Americans the highest possible living standard? ; Garner examines the economic effects of offshoring and possible policy responses. He finds that although the offshoring of service jobs hurts some workers, offshoring should not permanently lower U.S. employment or production. ; Moreover, the average living standard can benefit over the long run if the nation adopts policies to retrain displaced workers and move them into expanding industries.

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    File URL: http://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/econrev/Pdf/3Q04garn.pdf
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    Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): (2004)
    Issue (Month): Q III ()
    Pages: 5-37

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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2004:i:qiii:p:5-37:n:v.89no.3
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