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Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy

  • Pol Antràs

    (Harvard University)

  • Luis Garicano

    (University of Chicago)

  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

    (Stanford University)

How does the formation of cross-country teams affect the organization of work and the structure of wages? To study this question we propose a theory of the assignment of heterogeneous agents into hierarchical teams, where less skilled agents specialize in production and more skilled agents specialize in problem solving. We first analyze the properties of the competitive equilibrium of the model in a closed economy, and show that the model has a unique and efficient solution. We then study the equilibrium of a two-country model (North and South), where countries differ in their distributions of ability, and in which agents in different countries can join together in teams. We refer to this type of integration as globalization. Globalization leads to better matches for all southern workers but only for the best northern workers. As a result, we show that globalization increases wage inequality in the South but not necessarily in the North. We also study how globalization affects the size distribution of firms and the patterns of consumption and trade in the global economy.

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Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 04-020.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:04-020
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  1. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
  2. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Inequality and the Organization of Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 197-202, May.
  3. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, And Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418, November.
  4. Waldman, Michael, 1984. "Worker Allocation, Hierarchies and the Wage Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 95-109, January.
  5. Andrew B. Bernard & Raymond Robertson & Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Is Mexico A Lumpy Country?," NBER Working Papers 10898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  7. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
  8. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2003. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," CEPR Discussion Papers 3737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," NBER Working Papers 9945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Department of Economics 95-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  13. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Patterns of Skill Premia," NBER Working Papers 7018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Aitken, Brian & Harrison, Ann & Lipsey, Robert E., 1996. "Wages and foreign ownership A comparative study of Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 345-371, May.
  15. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-71, June.
  16. Pol Antràs & Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," Discussion Papers 04-020, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  17. Grossmann, G.M. & Maggi, G., 1998. "Diversity and Trade," Papers 192, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  18. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
  20. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2004. "An Assignment Theory of Foreign Direct Investment," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-003, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  21. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
  22. Verhoogen, Eric A, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 6385, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
  24. 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.
  25. Kremer, M & Maskin, E, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," Working papers 96-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  26. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  27. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
  28. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435, November.
  29. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  30. Zhu, Susan Chun & Trefler, Daniel, 2005. "Trade and inequality in developing countries: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-48, January.
  31. Lipsey, Robert E. & Sjoholm, Fredrik, 2004. "Foreign direct investment, education and wages in Indonesian manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 415-422, February.
  32. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
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