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A Simple Model of Trade, Job Task Offshoring and Social Insurance

We provide a simple model of trade, job task offshoring and social insurance to identify economic mechanisms through which the interplay between insurance design, (final-goods) trade and job task offshoring determine domestic producer conditions. A skill-abundant home country that may have more productive workers relocates low-skill job tasks to a labor-abundant foreign country. Only the home country provides social insurance to its citizens. Using a simple conceptualization of social insurance targeting the main mechanisms through which insurance design impacts on producer conditions, we formalize productivity, wage-restrictive, compensation, cost-enhancing, cost-redistributive and labor-supply effects of insurance. The home country’s labor productivity is superior if the health status of the labor force is improved by health insurance. Generous unemployment insurance trigger binding reservation wages, giving rise to labor-supply effects that lead to a domestic overspecialization of production in trade equilibrium. This tendency is stronger with an insurance design that incorporates a cost-coverage link. Offshoring can introduce, enhance or reduce unemployment in the unskilled labor market depending on a combination of market-related factors and insurance design. In particular, offshoring may give rise to a combination of market-related effects that offset unskilled worker dependency on generous unemployment insurance. An insurance regulation that provides generous unemployment benefits and stipulates cost-redistribution can give rise to a compensation effect through which offshoring generates a high-skill wage reduction.

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File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/papers/WP12_16.pdf
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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012:16.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 11 Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2012_016
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en

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  1. Pushan Dutt & Devashish Mitra & Priya Ranjan, 2007. "International Trade and Unemployment: Theory and Cross-National Evidence," Working Papers 070808, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  2. Egger, Hartmut & Falkinger, Josef, 2003. "The distributional effects of international outsourcing in a 2 x 2 production model," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 189-206, August.
  3. Christian Keuschnigg & Evelyn Ribi, 2008. "Outsourcing, Unemployment and Welfare Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2452, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  5. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  6. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The selection principle and market failure in systems competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 247-274, November.
  7. Mark P. Moore & Priya Ranjan, 2005. "Globalisation vs Skill-Biased Technological Change: Implications for Unemployment and Wage Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 391-422, 04.
  8. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
  9. Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "International outsourcing and factor prices with multistage production," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C166-C185, 03.
  10. Arndt, Sven W., 1997. "Globalization and the open economy," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 71-79.
  11. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2004. "The New Systems Competition," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(1), pages 23-38, 02.
  12. Devashish Mitra & Priya Ranjan, 2007. "Offshoring and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Wright, Greg C., 2014. "Revisiting the employment impact of offshoring," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 63-83.
  14. Brecher, Richard A, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116, February.
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