IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Modeling the Offshoring of White-Collar Services: From Comparative Advantage to the New Theories of Trade and FDI

  • Markusen, James R.

Trade theory consists of a portfolio of models. What elements might be useful in modeling the offshoring of white-collar services, or do these issues call for an entirely fresh approach? I try to identifying some of the important aspects of this phenomenon and then argue that modeling could focus on (a) vertical fragmentation of production, (b) expansion of trade at the extensive margin, (c) fragments that differ in factor intensities and countries that differ in endowments, and (d) knowledge or capital stocks of countries or firms that are complementary to skilled labour, and create missing inputs for countries otherwise well suited to skill-intensive fragments. I argue that we can make good progress by selecting a number of 'modules' from existing theory. I use these to formulate a series of simple 'template' models which capture many of the characteristics of offshoring, and then use those models to identify the effects of technological or institutional changes which allow offshoring of white-collar services to occur.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5408.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5408
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, June.
  2. Pol Antras, 2004. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," 2004 Meeting Papers 19, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," NBER Working Papers 9740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "The Multinational Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 805-33, November.
  5. Jones, Ronald W. & Coelho, Isaias & Easton, Stephen T., 1986. "The theory of international factor flows: The basic model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3-4), pages 313-327, May.
  6. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. J.P. Neary, 1995. "Factor Mobility and International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0248, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  9. Gomory, Ralph E. & Baumol, William J., 2004. "Globalization: prospects, promise, and problems," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 425-438, June.
  10. Deardorff, Alan V., 2005. "Ricardian comparative advantage with intermediate inputs," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 11-34, March.
  11. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Deardorff, A.V., 1998. "Fragmentation in Simple Trade Models," Papers 98-11, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  13. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Direct Investment and Relative Wages: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladoras," NBER Working Papers 5122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 3196327, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J, 2005. "A Multi-Country Approach to Factor-Proportions Trade and Trade Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Wilfred J. Ethier & James R. Markusen, 1991. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Markusen, James R., 2001. "Contracts, intellectual property rights, and multinational investment in developing countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 189-204, February.
  18. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 2002. " Multinational Firms and Technology Transfer," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(4), pages 495-513, December.
  19. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya & T. N. Srinivasan, 2004. "The Muddles over Outsourcing," International Trade 0408004, EconWPA.
  20. Fosfuri, Andrea & Motta, Massimo & Rønde, Thomas, 1999. "Foreign Direct Investment and Spillovers through Workers' Mobility," CEPR Discussion Papers 2194, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Alan V. Deardorff, 2004. "A Trade Theorist’s Take on Skilled-Labor Outsourcing," Working Papers 519, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  22. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-39, December.
  23. Markusen, James R., 1983. "Factor movements and commodity trade as complements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 341-356, May.
  24. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Feenstra, Robert C & Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 240-45, May.
  26. Paul A. Samuelson, 2004. "Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 135-146, Summer.
  27. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1998. "Multinational firms and the new trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 183-203, December.
  28. Ignatius Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1987. "Licensing versus Direct Investment: A Model of Internalization by the Multinational Enterprise," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(3), pages 464-81, August.
  29. David Hummels & Jun Ishii & Kei-Mu Yi, 1999. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Staff Reports 72, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  30. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Department of Economics 95-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  31. 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.
  32. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
  33. Norman, Victor D & Venables, Anthony J, 1993. "International Trade, Factor Mobility and Trade Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 766, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  34. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
  35. Markusen, James R, 1989. "Trade in Producer Services and in Other Specialized Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 85-95, March.
  36. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5408. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.