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The Politics and Economics of Offshore Outsourcing

  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Phillip Swagel

This paper reviews the political uproar over offshore outsourcing connected with the release of the Economic Report of the President (ERP) in February 2004, examines the differing ways in which economists and non-economists talk about offshore outsourcing, and assesses the empirical evidence on the importance of offshore outsourcing in accounting for the weak labor market from 2001 to 2004. Even with important gaps in the data, the empirical literature is able to conclude that offshore outsourcing is unlikely to have accounted for a meaningful part of the job losses in the recent downturn or contributed much to the slow labor market rebound. The empirical evidence to date, while still tentative, actually suggests that increased employment in the overseas affiliates of U. S. multinationals is associated with more employment in the U. S. parent rather than less.

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File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2006/HIER2120.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2120.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2120
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  1. Bardhan, Ashok Deo & Kroll, Cynthia, 2003. "The New Wave of Outsourcing," Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics, Research Reports qt02f8z392, Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics, UC Berkeley.
  2. Mary Amiti & Shang-Jin Wei, 2005. "Fear of service outsourcing: is it justified?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(42), pages 308-347, 04.
  3. Erica L. Groshen & Bart Hobijn & Margaret M. McConnell, 2005. "U.S. jobs gained and lost through trade: a net measure," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 11(Aug).
  4. Martin Neil Baily & Robert Z. Lawrence, 2004. "What Happened to the Great U.S. Job Machine? The Role of Trade and Electronic Offshoring," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 211-284.
  5. J. Steven Landefeld & Raymond J. Mataloni, 2004. "Offshore Outsourcing and Multinational Companies," BEA Papers 0043, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  6. James Markusen, 2005. "Modeling the Offshoring of White-Collar Services: From Comparative Advantage to the New Theories of Trade and FDI," NBER Working Papers 11827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya, 2004. "The Muddles over Outsourcing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 93-114, Fall.
  8. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
  9. Ralph H. Kozlow & Maria Borga, 2004. ""Offshoring" and the U.s. Balance of Payments," BEA Papers 0038, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  10. J. Bradford Jensen & Lori G. Kletzer, 2005. "Tradable Services: Understanding the Scope and Impact of Services Outsourcing," Working Paper Series WP05-9, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Avinash Dixit & Gene Grossman, 2005. "The Limits of Free Trade: Comment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 241-242, Summer.
  13. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 11717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
  15. S. Lael Brainard & David A. Riker, 1997. "Are U.S. Multinationals Exporting U.S. Jobs?," NBER Working Papers 5958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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