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Trade, Offshoring, and the Invisible Handshake

  • Bilgehan Karabay
  • John McLaren

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15048.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Publication status: published as Karabay, Bilgehan & McLaren, John, 2010. "Trade, offshoring, and the invisible handshake," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 26-34, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15048
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