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Dispelling Some Myths About Offshoring

Author

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  • Harrison, Ann E.
  • McMillan, Margaret S.

Abstract

Critics of globalization claim that firms are being driven to shift employment abroad by the prospects of cheaper labor. Yet the evidence for this, beyond anecdotes, is slim. In this article, we review evidence on whether firms that do business in foreign countries are substituting foreign for domestic labor. We review the results of previous studies and present new firm-level evidence showing that, in fact, increases in employment in low-income countries do hurt employment at home. The premise that foreign expansion of U.S. multinationals encourages employment at home is a myth, but the domestic employment costs of offshoring are probably fairly small in magnitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrison, Ann E. & McMillan, Margaret S., 2006. "Dispelling Some Myths About Offshoring," MPRA Paper 15615, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15615
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/15615/1/MPRA_paper_15615.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marc-Andreas Muendler & Sascha O. Becker, 2010. "Margins of Multinational Labor Substitution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1999-2030, December.
    2. Feenstra, Robert C & Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 240-245, May.
    3. Amiti, Mary & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2006. "Service Offshoring, Productivity and Employment: Evidence from the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 5475, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. 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.
    5. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Survival of the best fit: Exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 219-237, January.
    6. Ann E. Harrison & Margaret S. McMillan, 2006. "Outsourcing Jobs? Multinationals and US Employment," NBER Working Papers 12372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya, 2004. "The Muddles over Outsourcing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 93-114, Fall.
    9. Harrison, Ann, 2005. "Has Globalization Eroded Labor’s Share? Some Cross-Country Evidence," MPRA Paper 39649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-1997, December.
    11. Harrison, Ann & Hanson, Gordon, 1999. "Who gains from trade reform? Some remaining puzzles," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 125-154, June.
    12. 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.
    13. Currie, Janet & Harrison, Ann E, 1997. "Sharing the Costs: The Impact of Trade Reform on Capital and Labor in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 44-71, July.
    14. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leo McCann, 2014. "Disconnected Amid the Networks and Chains: Employee Detachment from Company and Union after Offshoring," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(2), pages 237-260, June.
    2. Thomas Kemeny & David Rigby & Abigail Cooke, 2015. "Cheap Imports and the Loss of US Manufacturing Jobs," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(10), pages 1555-1573, October.
    3. Alastaire Sèna ALINSATO, 2015. "Globalization, Poverty And Role Of Infrastructures," Journal of Economics and Political Economy, KSP Journals, vol. 2(1s), pages 197-212, May.
    4. J.K. Mullen & Martin Williams, 2012. "Captive offshoring by US multinationals: measuring the domestic employment impacts of vertical FDI," International Journal of Economics and Business Research, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(1/2), pages 21-34.
    5. repec:spr:manint:v:57:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11575-017-0315-1 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Outsourcing; globalization; foreign labor; domestic labor; multinationals;

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices

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