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Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy

Author

Listed:
  • Pol Antràs
  • Luis Garicano
  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Abstract

How does the formation of cross-country teams affect the organization of work and the structure of wages? To study this question, we propose a theory of the assignment of heterogeneous agents into hierarchical teams, where less skilled agents specialize in production and more skilled agents specialize in problem solving. We first analyze the properties of the competitive equilibrium of the model in a closed economy, and show that the model has a unique and efficient solution. We then study the equilibrium of a two-country model (North and South), where countries differ in their distributions of ability, and in which agents in different countries can join together in teams. We refer to this type of integration as globalization. Globalization leads to better matches for all southern workers but only for the best northern workers. As a result, we show that globalization increases wage inequality among nonmanagers in the South, but not necessarily in the North. We also study how globalization affects the size distribution of firms and the patterns of consumption and trade in the global economy.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:1:p:31-77.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/121.1.31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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