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The Politics and Economics of Offshore Outsourcing

  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Phillip Swagel

This paper reviews the political uproar over offshore outsourcing connected with the release of the Economic Report of the President (ERP) in February 2004, examines the differing ways in which economists and non-economists talk about offshore outsourcing, and assesses the empirical evidence on the importance of offshore outsourcing in accounting for the weak labor market from 2001 to 2004. Even with important gaps in the data, the empirical literature is able to conclude that offshore outsourcing is unlikely to have accounted for a meaningful part of the job losses in the recent downturn or contributed much to the slow labor market rebound. The empirical evidence to date, while still tentative, actually suggests that increased employment in the overseas affiliates of U.S. multinationals is associated with more employment in the U.S. parent rather than less.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12398.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Gregory Mankiw, N. & Swagel, Phillip, 2006. "The politics and economics of offshore outsourcing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1027-1056, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12398
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  1. S. Lael Brainard & David A. Riker, 1997. "Are U.S. Multinationals Exporting U.S. Jobs?," NBER Working Papers 5958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Martin Neil Baily & Robert Z. Lawrence, 2004. "What Happened to the Great U.S. Job Machine? The Role of Trade and Electronic Offshoring," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 211-284.
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  6. 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.
  7. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 11717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Avinash Dixit & Gene Grossman, 2005. "The Limits of Free Trade: Comment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 241-242, Summer.
  9. James Markusen, 2005. "Modeling the Offshoring of White-Collar Services: From Comparative Advantage to the New Theories of Trade and FDI," NBER Working Papers 11827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. J. Bradford Jensen & Lori G. Kletzer, 2005. "Tradable Services: Understanding the Scope and Impact of Services Outsourcing," Working Paper Series WP05-9, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  12. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Erica L. Groshen & Bart Hobijn & Margaret M. McConnell, 2005. "U.S. jobs gained and lost through trade: a net measure," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 11(Aug).
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  15. J. Steven Landefeld & Raymond J. Mataloni, 2004. "Offshore Outsourcing and Multinational Companies," BEA Papers 0043, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
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