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Alternative Measures of Offshorability: A Survey Approach

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  • Alan S. Blinder
  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

This paper reports on a household survey specially designed to measure what we call the "offshorability" of jobs, defined as the ability to perform the work duties from abroad. We develop multiple measures of offshorability, using both self-reporting and professional coders. All the measures find that roughly 25% of U.S. jobs are offshorable. Our three preferred measures agree between 70% and 80% of the time. Furthermore, professional coders appear to provide the most accurate assessments, which is good news because the Census Bureau could collect data on offshorability without adding a single question to the CPS. Empirically, more educated workers appear to hold somewhat more offshorable jobs, and offshorability does not have systematic effects on either wages or the probability of layoff. Perhaps most surprisingly, routine work is no more offshorable than other work.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2009. "Alternative Measures of Offshorability: A Survey Approach," NBER Working Papers 15287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15287
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Morris M. Kleiner & Alan B. Krueger, 2010. "The Prevalence and Effects of Occupational Licensing," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(4), pages 676-687, December.
    2. Morris M. Kleiner & Alan B. Krueger, 2008. "The Prevalence and Effects of Occupational Licensing," Working Papers 1069, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    4. Jagdish Bhagwati & Alan S. Blinder, 2009. "Offshoring of American Jobs: What Response from U.S. Economic Policy?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262013320 edited by Benjamin M. Friedman.
    5. Morris M. Kleiner & Alan B. Krueger, 2010. "The Prevalence and Effects of Occupational Licensing," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(4), pages 676-687, December.
    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. repec:pri:cepsud:174krueger is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Katharine G. Abraham & James R. Spletzer & Michael Harper, 2010. "Labor in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra08-1, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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