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How Many US Jobs Might be Offshorable?

  • Alan S. Blinder

Using detailed information on the nature of work done in over 800 US Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational codes, this paper ranks those occupations according to how easy/hard it is to offshore the work – either physically or electronically. Using this ranking, it is estimated that somewhere between 22% and 29% of all US jobs are or will be potentially offshorable within a decade or two. (No estimate is made of how many jobs will actually be offshored.) Since the rankings are subjective, two alternatives are presented – one is entirely objective, the other is an independent subjective ranking. In general, they corroborate the rankings, albeit not perfectly. It is found that there is little or no correlation between an occupation’s ‘offshorability’ and the skill level of its workers (as measured either by educational attainment or wages). However, it appears that, controlling for education, the most highly offshorable occupations were already paying significantly lower wages in 2004.

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File URL: http://www.world-economics-journal.com/Contents/ArticleOverview.aspx?ID=376
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Article provided by World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE in its journal World Economics Journal.

Volume (Year): 10 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 41-78

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Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:376
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  1. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. N. Gregory Mankiw & Phillip Swagel, 2006. "The Politics and Economics of Offshore Outsourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2120, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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