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A Simple Model of Offshore Outsourcing,Technology Upgrading and Welfare

  • JUNG J.
  • MERCENIER J.

We adapt Yeaple's (2005) heterogeneous agents framework to model firms in the North as making explicit offshore outsourcing decisions to cheap-labor economies. Globalization results from a lowering of the set-up costs incurred when engaging in offshore activities. We highlight how firms' technology transformations due to globalization will induce skill upgrading in the North, increase aggregate productivity, average wages and therefore total welfare at the cost of increased wage inequalities. We analytically derive mild conditions under which all consumers--including lower-skilled workers--will nevertheless gain from the surge of offshore outsourcing. A parameterized version of the model roughly calibrated on U.S. data is then numerically explored and confirms our positive welfare predictions.

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Paper provided by ERMES, University Paris 2 in its series Working Papers ERMES with number 0808.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:erm:papers:0808
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  1. 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.
  2. Robert E. Baldwin & Robert E. Lipsey & J. David Richards, 1998. "Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bald98-1, October.
  3. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Scholarly Articles 3445092, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Phillip Swagel, 2006. "The Politics and Economics of Offshore Outsourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2120, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
  6. Conyon, Martin J, et al, 2002. "The Productivity and Wage Effects of Foreign Acquisition in the United Kingdom," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 85-102, March.
  7. Pär Hansson, 2005. "Skill Upgrading and Production Transfer within Swedish Multinationals," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 673-692, December.
  8. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Department of Economics 95-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  9. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert C. Feenstra, 2007. "Globalization and Its Impact on Labour," wiiw Working Papers 44, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  11. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-73, October.
  12. Christian Broda & David Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the gains from variety," Staff Reports 180, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  13. Robert C. Feenstra & Gene M. Grossman & Douglas A. Irwin (ed.), 1996. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy: Papers in Honor of Jagdish Bhagwati," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061864, June.
  14. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "The rise of offshoring: it's not wine for cloth anymore," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 59-102.
  15. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
  17. 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.
  18. Barba Navaretti, Giorgio & Castellani, Davide & Disdier, Anne-Célia, 2006. "How Does Investing in Cheap Labour Countries Affect Performance at Home? France and Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5765, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Offshore production and skill upgrading by Japanese manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 81-105, October.
  20. Alan Deardorf, 2005. "Gains from Trade and Fragmentation," Working Papers 543, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  21. Deardorff, Alan V., 2006. "Comment on Mankiw and Swagel, "The politics and economics of offshore outsourcing"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1057-1061, July.
  22. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Mark E. Doms & J . Bradford Jensen, 1998. "Comparing Wages, Skills, and Productivity between Domestically and Foreign-Owned Manufacturing Establishments in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting, pages 235-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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