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Trade, Offshoring, and the Invisible Handshake

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  • Bilgehan Karabay
  • John McLaren

Abstract

We study the effect of globalization on the volatility of wages and worker welfare in a model in which risk is allocated through long-run employment relationships (the 'invisible handshake'). Globalization can take two forms: International integration of commodity markets (i.e., free trade) and international integration of factor markets (i.e., offshoring). In a two-country, two-good, two-factor model we show that free trade and offshoring have opposite effects on rich-country workers. Free trade hurts rich-country workers, while reducing the volatility of their wages; by contrast, offshoring benefits them, while raising the volatility of their wages. We thus formalize, but also sharply circumscribe, a common critique of globalization.

Suggested Citation

  • Bilgehan Karabay & John McLaren, 2009. "Trade, Offshoring, and the Invisible Handshake," NBER Working Papers 15048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15048
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Karabay, Bilgehan & McLaren, John, 2011. "Pareto-improving firing costs?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1083-1093.
    2. Devashish Mitra & Priya Ranjan, 2007. "Offshoring and Unemployment," Working Papers 060719, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2010. "Offshoring and unemployment: The role of search frictions labor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 219-229, July.
    5. Devashish Mitra & Priya Ranjan, 2009. "Offshoring and Unemployment: The Role of Search Frictions and Labor Minority," Working Papers id:2071, eSocialSciences.
    6. Hummels, David & Munch, Jakob R. & Xiang, Chong, 2016. "Offshoring and Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 9741, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Harrison, Ann & McLaren, John & McMillan, Margaret S., 2010. "Recent findings on trade and inequality:," IFPRI discussion papers 1047, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Jan Hogrefe & Yao Yao, 2016. "Offshoring and labor income risk: an empirical investigation," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1045-1063, May.
    9. repec:oup:erevae:v:44:y:2017:i:4:p:592-633. is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sethupathy, Guru, 2013. "Offshoring, wages, and employment: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 73-97.
    11. Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2009. "Offshoring and Unemployment: The Role of Search Frictions and Labor Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 4136, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee & Masatoshi Tsumagari, 2013. "Middlemen Margins and Globalization," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 81-119, November.
    13. Silvia Rocha-Akis, 2012. "The Pain and Gain of Offshoring: The Effects of Tax Progression in a Segmented Labour Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 3739, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Emiliano Magrini & Pierluigi Montalbano & L. Alan Winters, 2017. "Vulnerability from trade in Vietnam," Working Paper Series 2017, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    15. Treb Allen & David Atkin, 2016. "Volatility and the Gains from Trade," NBER Working Papers 22276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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