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Outsourcing in East Asia and its impact on the Japanese and Korean Labour Markets

Author

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  • Sanghoon Ahn
  • Kyoji Fukao
  • Keiko Ito

Abstract

This study describes the changing patterns of intermediate goods trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in East Asia and investigates the impacts of international outsourcing on the Japanese and the Korean labour markets. The main findings of the paper are as follows. First, intra-regional trade in East Asia grew remarkably during the period 1990-2003. While overall trade with the rest of the world roughly doubled in this period, intra-regional trade in East Asia more than tripled. Second, the main factor behind increased intra-regional trade in East Asia was the trade in intermediate goods through outsourcing and the international fragmentation of production. Third, reflecting the fact that outsourcing to Asia (particularly to China) has a negative impact on the demand for workers with lower education and a positive impact on the demand for workers with higher education, relative wage shares of workers by educational attainment have changed substantially both in Japan and Korea. Fourth, our empirical analysis provides evidence of labour demand shift towards skilled labour in Japanese manufacturing as a result of outsourcing. For Korea, although the overall effects of outsourcing have been insignificant in Korea partly because a substantial part of Korean outsourcing remained directed towards Japan, our results imply that labour demand would shift away from less-skilled workers towards more-skilled workers if outsourcing to China increased and outsourcing to Japan decreased in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanghoon Ahn & Kyoji Fukao & Keiko Ito, 2008. "Outsourcing in East Asia and its impact on the Japanese and Korean Labour Markets," OECD Trade Policy Papers 65, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:traaab:65-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/244366638573
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley, 2010. "Facts and Fallacies about U.S. FDI in China," NBER Chapters,in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 513-539 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kiyota, Kozo & Maruyama, Sawako, 2017. "ICT, offshoring, and the demand for part-time workers: The case of Japanese manufacturing," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 75-86.
    3. Kyoji Fukao & Tsutomu Miyagawa & Hak Kil Pyo & Keun Hee Rhee, 2012. "Estimates of Total Factor Productivity, the Contribution of ICT, and Resource Reallocation Effects in Japan and Korea," Chapters,in: Industrial Productivity in Europe, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Cesare Imbriani & Rosanna Pittiglio & Filippo Reganati, 2014. "Affiliates and parent employment through foreign direct investment: a study case of substitutability or complementarity," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 619-638, December.
    5. Sanghoon Ahn & Jong-Wha Lee, 2007. "Integration and Growth in East Asia," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 25(S1), pages 131-168, December.
    6. Sanghoon Ahn & Kyoji Fukao & Keiko Ito, 2008. "The Impact of Outsourcing on the Japanese and South Korean Labor Markets: International Outsourcing of Intermediate Inputs and Assembly in East Asia," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-001, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    7. Helena Schweiger & Guido Friebel, 2013. "Management Quality, Ownership, Firm Performance and Market Pressure in Russia," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 763-788, September.
    8. Yamashita, Nobuaki, 2008. "The impact of production fragmentation on skill upgrading: New evidence from Japanese manufacturing," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 545-565, December.
    9. repec:ebd:wpaper:144 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lin, Songhua & Ma, Alyson C., 2012. "Outsourcing and productivity: Evidence from Korean data," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 39-49.
    11. Fergal McCann, 2009. "Outsourcing and Firm Productivity in Irish Manufacturing," FIW Working Paper series 021, FIW.
    12. Yamashita, Nobuaki & Fukao, Kyoji, 2010. "Expansion abroad and jobs at home: Evidence from Japanese multinational enterprises," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 88-97, March.
    13. Martin Falk, 2012. "International Outsourcing and Productivity Growth," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 3(1).
    14. Elia, Stefano & Mariotti, Ilaria & Piscitello, Lucia, 2009. "The impact of outward FDI on the home country's labour demand and skill composition," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 357-372, August.
    15. Lee Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley, 2007. "Facts and Fallacies about U.S. FDI in China," NBER Working Papers 13470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Ralph Paprzycki & Keiko Ito, 2010. "Investment, Production and Trade Networks as Drivers of East Asian Integration," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-117, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    17. Kim, Hyeon-Kyeong & Skott, Peter, 2014. "Labor market reform and wage inequality in Korea," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2014-13, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    18. Nobuaki Yamashita, 2010. "International Fragmentation of Production," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13615, April.
    19. Shandre M. Thangvelu, . "Trade, Technology, Foreign Firms and Wage Gap: Case of Vietnam Manufacturing Firms," Chapters, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
    20. Kiyoyasu Tanaka, 2009. "Producer Services and Manufacturing Productivity: Evidence from Japan Industrial Productivity Database," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-076, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Japan; Korea; labour demand; manufacturing; outsourcing; skill upgrading;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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