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Offshoring and the Skill Structure of Labour Demand in Belgium

  • Bart Hertveldt
  • Bernhard Michel


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    A major concern regarding the consequences of offshoring is the worsening of the labour market position of low-skilled workers. This paper addresses this issue by providing evidence on the impact of offshoring on the skill structure of manufacturing employment in Belgium between 1995 and 2007. Offshoring is found to significantly lower the employment share of low-skilled workers. Its contribution to the fall in the employment share of low-skilled workers amounts to 35 %. This is mainly driven by offshoring to Central and Eastern European countries. While most of the previous papers on this subject focus on materials offshoring, we show that offshoring of business services also contributes significantly to the fall in the low-skilled employment share. As a complement to the existing literature, we compare the widely used current price measure of offshoring with a constant price measure that is based on a deflation with separate price indices for domestic output and imports. This reveals that the former underestimate the extent of offshoring and its impact on low-skilled employment. Finally, we also find that the impact of offshoring on low-skilled employment is significantly smaller in industries with a higher ICT capital intensity. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal De Economist.

    Volume (Year): 161 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 399-420

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:decono:v:161:y:2013:i:4:p:399-420
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