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Outsourcing of Unionized Firms and the Impact of Labor Market Policy Reforms

  • Koskela, Erkki


    (University of Helsinki)

  • Schöb, Ronnie


    (Free University of Berlin)

This paper shows that outsourcing of parts of workforce in unionized firms leads to wage moderation both in the case of strategic and flexible outsourcing and as long as the share of the outsourced workforce is not too large, this wage-moderation effect on domestic employment outweighs the direct substitution effect so that domestic employment increases in unionized firms as outsourcing costs fall. With respect the impact of labor tax reforms that are well-established in the literature: changes in the wage tax rate, the tax exemption and the unemployment benefit payments affect domestic wage setting in the same way as in the absence of outsourcing. Furthermore, increasing the degree of tax progression by keeping the relative tax burden per worker constant continues to be good for employment. However, except for low outsourcing activities, the impact of these policy measures will become smaller as outsourcing costs fall.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3566.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of International Economics, 2010, 18 (4), 682–695
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3566
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Dermot Leahy & Catia Montagna, 1999. "Unionisation and Foreign Direct Investment: Challenging Conventional Wisdom?," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 097, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  2. Mine Zeynep Senses, 2006. "The Effects of Outsourcing on the Elasticity of Labor Demand," Working Papers 06-07, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Koskela, Erkki & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1996. "Tax progression is good for employment in popular models of trade union behaviour," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-80, August.
  4. Hartmut Egger & Peter Egger, 2000. "Outsourcing and skill-specific employment in a small economy: Austria and the fall of the Iron Curtain," Economics working papers 2000-24, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  5. Jan Rose Skaksen, 2004. "International outsourcing when labour markets are unionized," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(1), pages 78-94, February.
  6. Alexander Hijzen & Holger Görg & Robert C. Hine, 2004. "International Outsourcing and the Skill Structure of Labour Demand in the United Kingdom," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 437, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Stefanova Boyka M, 2006. "The Political Economy of Outsourcing in the European Union and the East-European Enlargement," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-45, August.
  8. Rana Hasan & Devashish Mitra & K.V. Ramaswamy, 2003. "Trade Reforms, Labor Regulations and Labor-Demand Elasticities: Empirical Evidence from India," Economics Study Area Working Papers 59, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact Of Outsourcing And High-Technology Capital On Wages: Estimates For The United States, 1979-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940, August.
  10. Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "International trade and labor-demand elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 27-56, June.
  11. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 1999. "Does the composition of wage and payroll taxes matter under Nash bargaining?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 343-349, September.
  12. Mary Amiti & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Fear of Service Outsourcing: Is It Justified?," IMF Working Papers 04/186, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2007. "The Welfare State and the Forces of Globalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 1925, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Skaksen, Mette Yde & Sorensen, Jan Rose, 2001. "Should trade unions appreciate foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 379-390, December.
  15. Gorg, Holger & Hanley, Aoife, 2005. "Labour demand effects of international outsourcing: Evidence from plant-level data," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-376.
  16. Sebastian Braun & Juliane Scheffel, 2007. "A Note on the Effect of Outsourcing on Union Wages," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-034, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
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