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Immigration, offshoring and American jobs

  • Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano


    (Universita’ Bocconi, Department of Economics
    Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)
    Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano (LdA))

  • Giovanni Peri


    (University of California, Davis - Department of Economics
    Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano (LdA))

  • Greg C. Wright


    (University of California, Davis - Department of Economics)

How many "American jobs" have U.S.-born workers lost due to immigration and offshoring? Or, alternatively, is it possible that immigration and offshoring, by promoting cost-savings and enhanced efficiency in firms, have spurred the creation of jobs for U.S. natives? We consider a multi-sector version of the Grossman and Rossi-Hansberg (2008) model with a continuum of tasks in each sector and we augment it to include immigrants with heterogeneous productivity in tasks. We use this model to jointly analyze the impact of a reduction in the costs of offshoring and of the costs of immigrating to the U.S. The model predicts that while cheaper offshoring reduces the share of natives among less skilled workers, cheaper immigration does not, but rather reduces the share of offshored jobs instead. Moreover, since both phenomena have a positive "cost-savings" effect they may leave unaffected, or even increase, total native employment of less skilled workers. Our model also predicts that offshoring will push natives toward jobs that are more intensive in communication-interactive skills and away from those that are manual and routine intensive. We test the predictions of the model on data for 58 U.S. manufacturing industries over the period 2000-2007 and find evidence in favor of a positive productivity effect such that immigration has a positive net effect on native employment while offshoring has no effect on it. We also find some evidence that offshoring has pushed natives toward more communication-intensive tasks while it has pushed immigrants away from them.

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Paper provided by National Bank of Belgium in its series Working Paper Research with number 205.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201010-205
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  1. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2005. "Immigrant Earnings: A Longitudinal Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(4), pages 485-503, December.
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  3. Pol Antràs & Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 31-77.
  4. Andri Chassamboulli & Theodore Palivos, 2010. "“Give me your Tired, your Poor,” so I can Prosper: Immigration in Search Equilibrium," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 12-2010, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
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  8. Monte, Ferdinando, 2009. "Skill Bias, Trade, and Wage Dispersion," MPRA Paper 14719, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri & Greg C. Wright, 2013. "Immigration, Offshoring, and American Jobs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1925-59, August.
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  23. Avraham Ebenstein & Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan & Shannon Phillips, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of Trade and Offshoring on American Workers Using the Current Population Surveys," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0742, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  24. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2007. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 118-133, February.
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  29. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Giuseppe Bertola & Alessandro Sembenelli, 2008. "Offshoring and Immigrant Employment: Firm-level Theory and Evidence," Development Working Papers 245, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
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