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Offshoring tasks, yet creating jobs?

  • Kohler, Wilhelm
  • Wrona, Jens

The policy debate views offshoring as job destruction. Theoretical models of offshoring mostly assume full employment. We develop a model of task trade that allows for equilibrium unemployment. In this model, there are two margins of adjustment. At the extensive margin, moving tasks offshore destroys jobs. At the intensive margin, due to higher productivity of labor in domestic tasks it creates jobs. Exploring these conditions in detail, we identify the potential of non-monotonic adjustment: Early stages of offshoring always lead to higher unemployment, while later stages may entail net job creation. We highlight this potential through numerical simulations.

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Paper provided by University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences in its series University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 12.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuewef:12
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  1. Philipp Harms & Oliver Lorz & Dieter Urban, 2012. "Offshoring along the production chain," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(1), pages 93-106, February.
  2. Paul A. Samuelson, 2004. "Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 135-146, Summer.
  3. Phillip Swagel & N. Gregory Mankiw, 2005. "The Politics and Economics of Offshore Outsourcing," AEI Economics Working Papers 49881, American Enterprise Institute.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Christian Keuschnigg & Evelyn Ribi, 2008. "Outsourcing, Unemployment and Welfare Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2452, CESifo Group Munich.
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  9. Grossman, Gene M. & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2011. "Task trade between similar countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5819, The World Bank.
  10. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  11. Becker, Sascha O. & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2009. "Offshoring and the Onshore Composition of Tasks and Skills," CEPR Discussion Papers 7391, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. James R. Markusen, 2010. "Expansion of Trade at the Extensive Margin: A General Gains-from-Trade Result and Illustrative Examples," NBER Working Papers 15926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Baldwin, Richard & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2014. "Trade-in-goods and trade-in-tasks: An integrating framework," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 51-62.
  14. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2006. "Cyclical wages in a search and bargaining model with large firms," Working Papers 06-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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  19. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Trade and unemployment: What do the data say?," Munich Reprints in Economics 20381, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  22. Deardorff, Alan V., 2006. "Comment on Mankiw and Swagel, "The politics and economics of offshore outsourcing"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1057-1061, July.
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  24. Alexander Hijzen & Holger Görg & Robert C. Hine, 2005. "International Outsourcing and the Skill Structure of Labour Demand in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 860-878, October.
  25. Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "Aspects of International Fragmentation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 793-816, November.
  26. Geishecker, Ingo & Görg, Holger, 2007. "Winners and losers: A Micro-level Analysis of International Outsourcing and Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 6484, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Robert C. Feenstra, 2010. "Offshoring in the Global Economy: Microeconomic Structure and Macroeconomic Implications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262013835, December.
  28. Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2010. "Offshoring and unemployment: The role of search frictions labor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 219-229, July.
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  32. Paul R. Krugman, 2008. "Trade and Wages, Reconsidered," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 103-154.
  33. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "The rise of offshoring: it's not wine for cloth anymore," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 59-102.
  34. Hartmut Egger & Peter Egger, 2000. "Outsourcing and skill-specific employment in a small economy: Austria and the fall of the Iron Curtain," Economics working papers 2000-24, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
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