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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. 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.
  2. Avraham Ebenstein & Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan & Shannon Phillips, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of Trade and Offshoring on American Workers Using the Current Population Surveys," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0742, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Trejo, Stephen, 2001. "Immigration Policy and the Skills of Immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Kristin F. Butcher & John DiNardo, 2002. "The Immigrant and native-born wage distributions: Evidence from United States censuses," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 97-121, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
  9. 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.
  10. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pol Antras & Luis Garicano, 2005. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," 2005 Meeting Papers 196, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Sascha O. Becker & Karolina Ekholm & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2009. "Offshoring and the Onshore Composition of Tasks and Skills," IAW Discussion Papers 55, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  12. Emily Blanchard & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Trade, Education, and the Shrinking Middle Class," CESifo Working Paper Series 4141, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Adolfo Barajas & Ralph Chami & Dalia Hakura & Peter Montiel, 2010. "Workers' Remittances and the Equilibrium Real Exchange Rate: Theory and Evidence," Center for Development Economics 2010-02, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  14. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan, 2011. "Offshoring Jobs? Multinationals and U.S. Manufacturing Employment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 857-875, August.
  16. Alan Manning, 2004. "We can work it out: the impact of technological change on the demand for low skill workers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19948, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2005. "Immigrant Earnings: A Longitudinal Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(4), pages 485-503, December.
  18. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. Jonathan Vogel & Arnaud Costinot, 2008. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," 2008 Meeting Papers 879, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Monte, Ferdinando, 2011. "Skill bias, trade, and wage dispersion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 202-218, March.
  22. 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.
  23. Giovanni Peri, 2012. "The Effect Of Immigration On Productivity: Evidence From U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 348-358, February.
  24. Kristin F. Butcher & John Dinardo, 2002. "The Immigrant and Native-Born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 97-121, October.
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