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Outsourcing, Unemployment and Welfare Policy

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  • Christian Keuschnigg

    () (University of St. Gallen (IFF-HSG), CEPR and CESifo)

  • Evelyn Ribi

    () (University of St. Gallen (IFF-HSG))

Abstract

Outsourcing of labor intensive activities challenges the welfare state and undermines the protection of low-skilled workers. The stylized facts are that profits are concentrated among the high-skilled, involuntary unemployment is mostly among the low-skilled, and private unemployment insurance is missing. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of redistribution and insurance policies when heterogeneous firms can outsource labor intensive components to low-wage economies. The main results are: (i) Social insurance props up wages, leading to more outsourcing and unskilled unemployment. (ii) Redistribution from the skilled to the working poor acts as a wage subsidy to unskilled workers, thereby reducing gross wages, outsourcing and unemployment. (iii) A trend to outsourcing, induced by lower transport costs of imported components, depresses low-skilled wages, raises unemployment, and boosts profits. The resulting polarization of society and the increased income risk of unskilled workers emphasizes the social gains from redistribution and insurance and thus calls for a more active role of the welfare state in more open economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Keuschnigg & Evelyn Ribi, 2007. "Outsourcing, Unemployment and Welfare Policy," Working Papers 0720, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  • Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:0720
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Susanna Thede, 2012. "What Can We Learn From Trade-Theoretic Research on Offshoring and Social Insurance?," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 31(4), pages 523-524, December.
    2. Michael P. Devereux & Christian Keuschnigg, 2009. "The Distorting Arm’s Length Principle," Working Papers 0910, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    3. Luis Carvalho & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2011. "Where are the poor in International Economics?," FEP Working Papers 425, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    4. Zierahn, Ulrich Theodor & Arntz, Melanie & Hogrefe, Jan, 2015. "Heterogeneous Labor Market Adjustments to Offshoring in European Regions," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112976, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Mario Larch & Wolfgang Lechthaler, 2013. "Unemployment in an Interdependent World," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 262-301, February.
    6. Evelyn Ribi, 2009. "Optimal Size and Intensity of Job Search Assistance Programs," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 2009-19, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    7. Federica VIGANO & Andrea SALUSTRI, 2015. "Matching profit and Non-profit Needs: How NPOs and Cooperative Contribute to Growth in Time of Crisis. A Quantitative Approach," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(1), pages 157-178, March.
    8. Wilhelm Kohler & Jens Wrona, 2010. "Offshoring Tasks, yet Creating Jobs?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3019, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Diane Aubert & Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, 2017. "Environmental Tax Reform and Income Distribution with Imperfect Heterogeneous Labour Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 6498, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Christian Keuschnigg, 2008. "Corporate Taxation and the Welfare State," Working Papers 0813, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    11. repec:ejn:ejbmjr:v:5:y:2017:i:2:p:38-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Keuschnigg, Christian & Loretz, Simon & Winner, Hannes, 2014. "Tax Competition and Tax Coordination in the European Union: A Survey," Economics Working Paper Series 1427, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    13. Silvia Rocha‐Akis & Ronnie Schöb, 2011. "Welfare Policy in the Presence of Unionised Labour and Internationally Mobile Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 93-119, March.
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    15. Silvia Rocha-Akis, 2012. "The Pain and Gain of Offshoring: The Effects of Tax Progression in a Segmented Labour Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 3739, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Priya Ranjan, 2014. "Globalization, Jobs, and Welfare: The Roles of Social Protection and Redistribution," Working Papers 141507, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    17. Christian Keuschnigg, 2009. "The Role of Corporate Taxation in a Large Welfare State," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(IV), pages 443-452, December.
    18. Victor-Adrian Troacă,Victor Troacă, 2012. "Outsourcing – Is It A Solution For The State?," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 187-189, March.
    19. Heid, Benedikt & Larch, Mario, 2016. "Gravity with unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 70-85.
    20. Alexandre SIMONS, 2014. "Delocation, home wages and welfare," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2014007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    21. Thede, Susanna, 2012. "A Simple Model of Trade, Job Task Offshoring and Social Insurance," Working Papers 2012:16, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    22. Astrid SIMILON, 2015. "Self-Regulation Systems for NPO Coordination: Strenghts and Weaknesses of Label and Umbrella Mechanisms," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(1), pages 89-104, March.
    23. Ranjan, Priya, 2016. "Globalization and risk averse workers: The roles of labor market and trade policies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 64-79.
    24. Thomas Aronsson & Erkki Koskela, 2008. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation and Provision of Public Input Goods in an Economy with Outsourcing and Unemployment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2481, CESifo Group Munich.
    25. Heid, Benedikt, 2014. "Preferential Trade Agreements, Unemployment, and the Informal Sector," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100376, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Outsourcing; unemployment; social insurance; redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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