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Technological diffusion, the diffusion of skill and the growth of outsourcing in US manufacturing

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  • Elisabetta Magnani

Abstract

What drives the observed rapid growth of outsourcing in US manufacturing? This article approaches this question by asking whether technological diffusion driven by R&D spillovers is in part responsible for the growth of atypical work arrangements in the USA. Relying on data of technological diffusion since the early 1970s, this study provides some evidence that technological factors may have contributed to the spread of outsourcing. When sample composition effects are accounted for, technological innovation reduces outsourcing in high-tech industries. Furthermore, this study highlights the importance of distinguishing between 'rent' and 'pure knowledge' spillovers. Rent spillovers are positively correlated with outsourcing, whereas pure knowledge spillovers usually decrease the incentive to outsource. Support to the technological diffusion hypothesis is also found, particularly in a sample of high-tech industries after 1980, in which rapid diffusion of IT technologies is notoriously witnessed. Alternative hypotheses are better applied to low-tech industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabetta Magnani, 2006. "Technological diffusion, the diffusion of skill and the growth of outsourcing in US manufacturing," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(7), pages 617-647.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:15:y:2006:i:7:p:617-647
    DOI: 10.1080/10438590600665120
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Elisabetta Magnani, 2012. "Vertical disintegration and training: evidence from a matched employer–employee survey," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 199-217, October.
    2. Luigi Benfratello & Tiziano Razzolini & Alessandro Sembenelli, 2009. "Does ICT Investment Spur or Hamper Offshoring? Empirical Evidence from Microdata," Working papers 05, Former Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino.
    3. repec:tur:wpaper:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Elisabetta Magnani & David Prentice, 2010. "Outsourcing And Unionization: A Tale Of Misallocated (Resistance) Resources," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(2), pages 460-482, April.
    5. Bartel, Ann P & Lach, Saul & Sicherman, Nachum, 2008. "Outsourcing and Technological Innovations: A Firm-Level Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 6731, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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