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The Effects of Outsourcing on the Elasticity of Labor Demand

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  • Mine Zeynep Senses

Abstract

In this paper, I focus on the effects of outsourcing on conditional labor demand elasticities. I begin by developing a model of outsourcing that formalizes this relationship. I show that the increased possibility of outsourcing (modeled as a decline in foreign intermediate input prices and an increase in the elasticity of substitution between foreign and domestic intermediate inputs) should increase labor demand elasticities. I also show that, a decline in the share of unskilled labor, due either to skill biased technological change or to movement of unskilled labor intensive stages abroad, can work in the opposite direction and reverse the increasing trend in elasticities. I then test the predictions of the model using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Research Database (LRD). The instrumental variable approach used in the estimation of labor demand equations is the main methodological contribution of this paper. I directly address the endogeneity of wages in the labor demand equation by using average nonmanufacturing wages for each location and year as an instrumental variable for the plant-level wages in the manufacturing sector. The results support the main predictions of my model. U.S. manufacturing plants operating in industries that heavily outsource experienced an increase in their conditional labor demand elasticities during the 1980-1992 period. After 1992 elasticities began to decrease in outsourcing industries. This finding is consistent with the model which suggests that a decline in the share of unskilled labor in total cost could result in such a decrease in labor demand elasticities, precisely when the level of outsourcing is high. Estimates at the two-digit industry level provide further evidence in support of the hypothesis that heavily outsourcing industries experience greater increases in their elasticities.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:06-07
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    Cited by:

    1. Erkki Koskela & Panu Poutvaara, 2008. "Outsourcing and Labor Taxation in Dual Labor Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 2333, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Hijzen, Alexander & Swaim, Paul, 2010. "Offshoring, labour market institutions and the elasticity of labour demand," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 1016-1034, November.
    3. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2009. "Can deunionization lead to international outsourcing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 109-119, February.
    4. Erkki Koskela & Jan König, 2009. "Can Profit Sharing Lower Flexible Outsourcing? A Note," CESifo Working Paper Series 2606, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Hübler, Michael, 2007. "A simple model of outsourcing with Cournot competition," Kiel Working Papers 1320, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Koskela, Erkki & König, Jan, 2009. "Can Profit Sharing Lower Flexible Outsourcing? A Note," IZA Discussion Papers 4063, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Koskela, Erkki & Stenbacka, Rune, 2007. "Equilibrium Unemployment with Outsourcing under Labour Market Imperfections," IZA Discussion Papers 2628, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Rosario Crinò, 2007. "Offshoring, Multinationals and Labor Market: A Review of the Empirical Literature," KITeS Working Papers 196, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jan 2007.
    9. Erkki Koskela & Rune Stenbacka, 2007. "Equilibrium Unemployment with Outsourcing and Wage Solidarity under Labour Market Imperfections," CESifo Working Paper Series 1988, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Lurweg, Maren, 2010. "Perceived job insecurity, unemployment risk and international trade: A micro-level analysis of employees in German service industries," CAWM Discussion Papers 32, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    11. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, 2010. "Outsourcing of Unionized Firms and the Impact of Labor Market Policy Reforms," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 682-695, September.
    12. Koskela, Erkki & König, Jan, 2011. "The Role of Profit Sharing in Dual Labour Markets with Flexible Outsourcing," IZA Discussion Papers 5798, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Christopher Johann Kurz, 2006. "Outstanding Outsourcers: A Firm- and Plant-Level Analysis of Production Sharing," Working Papers 06-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    14. Koskela, Erkki & Stenbacka, Rune, 2010. "Equilibrium unemployment with outsourcing and wage solidarity under labour market imperfections," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 376-392, April.
    15. Torben Andersen & Allan Sørensen, 2011. "Globalisation squeezes the public sector—is it so obvious?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(4), pages 369-382, August.
    16. Erkki Koskela & Jan König, 2009. "The Role of Profit Sharing in a Dual Labour Market with Flexible Outsourcing," CESifo Working Paper Series 2533, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Koskela, Erkki & Poutvaara, Panu, 2008. "Flexible Outsourcing and the Impacts of Labour Taxation in European Welfare States," IZA Discussion Papers 3699, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Koskela, Erkki & Stenbacka, Rune, 2007. "Equilibrium Unemployment with Outsourcing and Wage Solidarity Under Labour Market Imperfections," IZA Discussion Papers 2733, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Koskela, Erkki, 2008. "The Effects of Labour Tax Progression under Nash Wage Bargaining and Flexible Outsourcing," IZA Discussion Papers 3501, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Koskela, Erkki & Stenbacka, Rune, 2009. "Equilibrium unemployment with outsourcing under labour market imperfections," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 284-290, June.
    21. Erkki Koskela & Rune Stenbacka, 2007. "Equilibrium Unemployment with Outsourcing under Labour Market Imperfections," CESifo Working Paper Series 1892, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Christopher J. Kurz, 2006. "Outstanding outsourcers: a firm- and plant-level analysis of production sharing," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-04, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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