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Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs

  • Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano
  • Giovanni Peri
  • Greg C. Wright

How do offshoring and immigration affect the employment of native workers? What kinds of jobs suffer, or benefit, most from the competition created by offshore and immigrant workers? In contrast to the existing literature that has mostly looked at the effects of offshoring and immigration separately, we argue that one can gain useful insights by jointly investigating the interactions among native, immigrant and offshore workers. We develop our argument in three steps. First, we present some new facts on 58 U.S. manufacturing industries from 2000 to 2007. Second, we build on Grossman and Rossi-Hansberg (2008) to design a model of task assignment among heterogeneous native, immigrant and offshore workers that fits those facts. Third, we use the model to draw systematic predictions about the effects of immigration and offshoring on native workers and we test these predictions on the data. We find that, within the manufacturing sector, immigrants do not compete much with natives, as these two groups of workers are relatively specialized in tasks at opposite ends of the skill intensity spectrum. Offshore workers, on the other hand, seem to be specialized in tasks of intermediate skill intensity. We also find that offshoring has no effect on native employment in the aggregate, while the effect of immigration on native employment is positive. This hints at the presence of a "productivity effect" whereby offshoring and immigration improve industry efficiency, thereby creating new jobs.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1147.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1147
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Adolfo Barajas & Ralph Chami & Dalia Hakura & Peter Montiel, 2010. "Workers' Remittances and the Equilibrium Real Exchange Rate: Theory and Evidence," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-12, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Alan Manning, 2004. "We Can Work It Out: The Impact of Technological Change on the Demand for Low-Skill Workers," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(5), pages 581-608, November.
  3. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Emily Blanchard & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Trade, Education, and The Shrinking Middle Class," Kiel Working Papers 1831, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
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  7. Giovanni Peri, 2009. "The Effect of Immigration on Productivity: Evidence from US States," NBER Working Papers 15507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  9. Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban & Garicano, Luis & Antras, Pol, 2006. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," Scholarly Articles 3196323, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Becker, Sascha O. & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2013. "Offshoring and the onshore composition of tasks and skills," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 91-106.
  11. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0802, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  12. Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," Working Papers 2008.77, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  13. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, And Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418, November.
  14. Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan, 2009. "Offshoring Jobs? Multinationals and US Manufacturing Employment," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0741, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  15. Ebenstein, Avraham & Harrison, Ann & McMillan, Margaret & Phillips, Shannon, 2011. "Estimating the impact of trade and offshoring on American workers using the current population surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5750, The World Bank.
  16. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and lovely jobs: the rising polarization of work in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20002, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Kristin F. Butcher & John DiNardo, 1998. "The Immigrant and Native-born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses," NBER Working Papers 6630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. William W. Olney, 2008. "Offshoring, Immigration, and the Native Wage Distribution," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-10, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Feb 2011.
  19. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  20. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2005. "Immigrant Earnings: A Longitudinal Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Monte, Ferdinando, 2011. "Skill bias, trade, and wage dispersion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 202-218, March.
  22. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2009. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," NBER Working Papers 14672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2004. "Sorting It Out: International Trade and Protection With Heterogeneous Workers," NBER Working Papers 10959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Andri Chassamboulli & Theodore Palivos, 2010. "“Give me your Tired, your Poor,” so I can Prosper: Immigration in Search Equilibrium," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 12-2010, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  25. Heather Antecol & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Stephen J. Trejo, . "Immigration Policy and the Skills of Immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-26, Claremont Colleges.
  26. Barba Navaretti, Giorgio & Bertola, Giuseppe & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2008. "Offshoring and Immigrant Employment: Firm-level Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6743, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact Of Outsourcing And High-Technology Capital On Wages: Estimates For The United States, 1979-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940, August.
  28. Alan Manning, 2004. "We Can Work It Out: the Impact of Technological Change on the Demand for Low Skill Workers," CEP Discussion Papers dp0640, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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