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Tradable Services: Understanding the Scope and Impact of Services Outsourcing

  • J. Bradford Jensen


    (Institute for International Economics)

  • Lori G. Kletzer


    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

We develop a new empirical approach to identify tradable service activities. Contrary to conventional views of service activities as nontradable, we find a significant number of service industries and occupations that appear tradable and substantial employment in these tradable activities. Workers employed in tradable service activities differ from those employed in tradable manufacturing and nontradable services. Workers in tradable service activities have higher skill levels and are paid higher wages than manufacturing workers or workers in nontradable service activities. In general, we find little evidence that tradable service activities have lower employment growth than other service activities. However, evidence suggests lower employment growth at the lowest end of the skill distribution. There is also evidence of higher worker displacement rates in tradable services. Workers displaced from tradable service activities are different from displaced manufacturing workers: Displaced tradable service workers have higher skills and higher predisplacement earnings than displaced manufacturing workers.

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Paper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number WP05-9.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp05-9
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  1. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
  2. Mary Amiti & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Fear of Service Outsourcing: Is It Justified?," IMF Working Papers 04/186, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella, 2005. "The Globalization of the Software Industry: Perspectives and Opportunities for Developed and Developing Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lori G. Kletzer & Robert E. Litan, 2001. "A Prescription to Relieve Worker Anxiety," Policy Briefs PB01-02, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  5. Gilles Duranton & Henry G. Overman, 2005. "Testing for localization using micro-geographic data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 581, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "Survival of the Best Fit: Competition from Low Wage Countries and the (Uneven) Growth of US Manufacturing Plants," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm299, Yale School of Management.
  7. Catherine L. Mann, 2003. "Globalization of IT Services and White Collar Jobs: The Next Wave of Productivity Growth," Policy Briefs PB03-11, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  8. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya & T. N. Srinivasan, 2004. "The Muddles over Outsourcing," International Trade 0408004, EconWPA.
  9. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1999. "The Geographic Concentration of Industry: Does Natural Advantage Explain Agglomeration?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1862, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Lori G. Kletzer, 2001. "Job Loss from Imports: Measuring the Costs," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 110.
  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. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
  13. Amiti, Mary & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Fear of Outsourcing: Is It Justified?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4719, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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.
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