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Outstanding Outsourcers: A Firm- and Plant-Level Analysis of Production Sharing

  • Christopher Johann Kurz
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    This paper examines the differences in characteristics between outsourcers and nonoutsourcers with a particular focus on productivity. The measure of outsourcing comes from a question in the 1987 and 1992 Census of Manufactures regarding plant-level purchases of foreign intermediate materials. There are two key findings. First, outsourcers are “outstanding.” That is, all else equal, outsourcers tend to have premia for plant and firm characteristics, such as being larger, more capital intensive, and more productive. One exception to this outsourcing premia is that wages tend to be the same for both outsourcers and non-outsourcers. Second, outsourcing firms, but not plants, have significantly higher productivity growth.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2006/CES-WP-06-02.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 06-02.

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    Length: 38 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:06-02
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    1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1999. "Exporting and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 7135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:rus:hseeco:121605 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    4. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3165, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
    6. J. Bradford Jensen & Andrew Bernard, 2005. "Firm Structure, Multinationals, and Manufacturing Plant Deaths," Working Papers 05-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    8. Mark E. Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1998. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 409-429, April.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," Working Papers 148, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
    10. Halvorsen, Robert & Palmquist, Raymond, 1980. "The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 474-75, June.
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    12. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    13. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
    14. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    15. Feenstra, Robert C & Markusen, James R & Zeile, William, 1992. "Accounting for Growth with New Inputs: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 415-21, May.
    16. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1994. "Exporters, Jobs and Wages in U.S. Manufacturing: 1976-1987," Working papers 95-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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    19. Mark E. Doms & J . Bradford Jensen, 1998. "Comparing Wages, Skills, and Productivity between Domestically and Foreign-Owned Manufacturing Establishments in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting, pages 235-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    23. Jose Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The evolving external orientation of manufacturing: a profile of four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 53-81.
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    25. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    27. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 1999. "Rationalization effects of tariff reductions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 295-320, April.
    28. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
    29. Mine Zeynep Senses, 2006. "The Effects of Outsourcing on the Elasticity of Labor Demand," Working Papers 06-07, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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