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How Remote is the Offshoring Threat?

  • Head, Keith
  • Mayer, Thierry
  • Ries, John

Advances in communication technology make it possible for workers in India to supply business services to head offices located anywhere. This has the potential to put high-wage workers in direct competition with much lower paid Indian workers. Service trade, however, like goods trade, is subject to strong distance effects, implying that the remote supply of services remains limited. We investigate this proposition by deriving a gravity-like equation for service trade and estimating it for a large sample of countries and different categories of service trade. We find that distance costs are high but are declining over time. Our estimates suggest that delivery costs create a significant advantage for local workers relative to competing workers in distant countries.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6542.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6542
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  1. Rachel Griffith & Sokbae Lee & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Is distance dying at last? Falling home bias in fixed‐effects models of patent citations," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(2), pages 211-249, 07.
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  9. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2004. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," Development Working Papers 186, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
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