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Can deunionization lead to international outsourcing?

We analyze unionized firms’ incentives to outsource intermediate goods production to foreign (low-cost) subcontractors. Such outsourcing leads to increased wages for the remaining in-house production. We find that stronger unions, which implies higher domestic wages, reduce incentives for international outsourcing. Though somewhat surprising, this results provides a theoretical reconciliation of the empirically observed trends of deunionization and increased international outsourcing in many countries. We further show that globalization — interpreted as either market integration or increased product market competition — will increase incentives for international outsourcing.

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Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 15/05.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 05 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2005_015
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
Web page: http://www.uib.no/econ/en
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  1. Pol Antràs & Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," Discussion Papers 04-020, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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  19. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Straume, Odd Rune & Sørgard, Lars, 2003. "National versus international mergers in unionised oligopoly," Working Papers in Economics 12/03, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  20. Naylor, Robin, 1997. "Union Wage Strategies and International Trade," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 480, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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  22. 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.
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  40. Jay Pil Choi & Carl Davidson, 2004. "Strategic Second Sourcing by Multinationals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 579-600, 05.
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