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Offshoring and Unemployment

Author

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  • Devashish Mitra

    (Department of Economics, Syracuse University, NBER and IZA)

  • Priya Ranjan

    (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)

Abstract

In this paper, in order to study the impact of offshoring on sectoral and economywide rates of unemployment, we construct a two sector general equilibrium model in which labor is mobile across the two sectors, and unemployment is caused by search frictions. We find that, contrary to general perception, wage increases and sectoral unemployment decreases due to offshoring. This result can be understood to arise from the productivity enhancing (cost reducing) effect of offshoring. If the search cost is identical in the two sectors, or even if the search cost is higher in the sector which experiences offshoring, the economywide rate of unemployment decreases. We also find multiple equilibrium outcomes in the extent of offshoring and therefore, in the unemployment rate. Furthermore, a firm can increase its domestic employment through offshoring. Also, such a firm's domestic employment can be higher than a firm that chooses to remain fully domestic. When we modify the model to disallow intersectoral labor mobility, the negative relative price effect on the sector in which firms offshore some of their activity becomes stronger. In such a case, it is possible for this effect to offset the positive productivity effect, and result in a rise in unemployment in that sector. In the other sector, offshoring has a much stronger unemployment reducing effect in the absence of intersectoral labor mobility than in the presence of it. Finally, allowing for an endogenous number of varieties provides an additional indirect channel, through which sectoral unemployment goes down due to the entry of new firms brought about by offshoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Devashish Mitra & Priya Ranjan, 2007. "Offshoring and Unemployment," Working Papers 060719, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:060719
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    3. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Trade and Labor Market Outcomes," CEP Discussion Papers dp1028, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    5. Ann Harrison & John McLaren & Margaret McMillan, 2011. "Recent Perspectives on Trade and Inequality," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 261-289, September.
    6. Halit Yanikkaya, 2013. "Is trade liberalization a solution to the unemployment problem?," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 12(1), pages 57-85, April.
    7. Richard A. Brecher & Zhiqi Chen, 2014. "Unemployment and welfare consequences of international outsourcing under monopolistic competition," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 47(2), pages 540-554, May.
    8. Ranjan, Priya, 2013. "Offshoring, unemployment, and wages: The role of labor market institutions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 172-186.
    9. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
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    11. Bruno Decreuse & Paul Maarek, 2015. "FDI and the Labor Share in Developing Countries : A Theory and Some Evidence," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 119-120, pages 289-319.
    12. Carl Davidson & Steven J. Matusz, 2010. "Our Motivation," Introductory Chapters, in: International Trade with Equilibrium Unemployment, Princeton University Press.
    13. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2009. "International trade and unemployment: Theory and cross-national evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 32-44, June.
    14. Harrison, Ann & McLaren, John & McMillan, Margaret S., 2010. "Recent findings on trade and inequality:," IFPRI discussion papers 1047, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Mohammed, Mikidadu, 2018. "Do Import Tariffs Generate Stagflationary Tendencies?," EconStor Preprints 201013, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    16. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Michael P. Devereux & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Xavier Vives, 2008. "Chapter 3: The effect of globalisation on Western European jobs: curse or blessing?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo, vol. 0, pages 71-104, February.
    17. Karabay, Bilgehan & McLaren, John, 2010. "Trade, offshoring, and the invisible handshake," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 26-34, September.
    18. Richard A. Brecher & Zhiqi Chen, 2010. "Unemployment of Skilled and Unskilled Labor in an Open Economy: International Trade, Migration, and Outsourcing," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(5), pages 990-1000, November.
    19. Mohammed, Mikidadu, 2018. "Do import tariffs generate stagflationary tendencies?," EconStor Preprints 181674, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    20. Richard A. Brecher & Zhiqi Chen & Zhihao Yu, 2013. "The Trouble with Offshoring: Static and Dynamic Losses in the Presence of Unemployment," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(1), pages 1-11, January.
    21. Castellani, Davide & Mariotti, Ilaria & Piscitello, Lucia, 2008. "The impact of outward investments on parent company's employment and skill composition: Evidence from the Italian case," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 81-94, March.
    22. Sethupathy, Guru, 2013. "Offshoring, wages, and employment: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 73-97.
    23. Frank Butter & Jan Möhlmann & Paul Wit, 2008. "Trade and product innovations as sources for productivity increases: an empirical analysis," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 201-211, December.
    24. Thede, Susanna, 2012. "A Simple Model of Trade, Job Task Offshoring and Social Insurance," Working Papers 2012:16, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    25. Tadashi Morita & Yukiko Sawada & Kazuhiro Yamamoto, 2020. "Subsidy competition and imperfect labor markets," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(3), pages 698-728, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Offshoring; Imperfect competition; Unemployment; Job search; Vacancies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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