Lindsay Oldenski, 16 October 2012

The state of the US middle class has been a key issue this election season as middle-income workers have experienced relative wage losses in the last decade. Skill-biased technology change has previously been identified as a major cause of this polarisation of wages in the US. But this column shows that there is also an empirical link between offshoring by US firms and the polarisation of the US labour market.

Yasuyuki Todo, 15 July 2012

Offshoring continues to be a controversial issue in many developed countries. This column provides evidence from Japan and argues that policymakers should not worry too much about the loss of jobs; while unskilled jobs are offshored, they are replaced with skilled jobs, leading to a more productive use of the domestic labour force.

Rachel Griffith, Helen Miller, Laura Abramovsky, 15 March 2012

Multinational firms outsourcing or offshoring their operations to developing countries is a problem as old as globalisation. This column looks at the effect on high-skilled labour in the home country. It presents evidence that, on average, when firms start employing high-skilled workers offshore, they also increase the number of this type of worker employed at home.

Giordano Mion, Andrea Ariu, 25 February 2012

Services trade has increased dramatically in the last 20 years. This column examines data from Belgium and suggests that the change in IT use does not translate into higher services exports. It argues instead that offshoring is a key factor contributing to the rise of services trade.

Holger Görg, Ingo Geishecker, Christiane Krieger-Boden, 24 December 2011

The effects of offshoring on wages remain a hotly debated issue. This column explores the case of UK firms between 1992 and 2004, recognising that offshoring in one particular industry may also affect labour demand in other industries. It suggests that services and materials offshoring increase the wages of high-skilled workers and decreases the wages of low- and medium-skilled workers, thus contributing to a rising wage inequality.

Xiaole Wu, Fuqiang Zhang, 05 November 2011

As the global economic downturn grinds on, more companies are acknowledging that labour costs aren’t always the most important factor when deciding where to build their next factory. This column argues that, in times of recession, some companies find that bringing their business home can give them a competitive edge.

Alyson Ma, Ari Van Assche, 18 May 2011

Why do firms offshore manufacturing to China? This column uses data from China’s processing trade regime to argue that a hidden driver is the country’s geographic proximity to its East Asian neighbours.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg Wright, 18 November 2010

Manufacturing production and employment in the US has been in decline over recent decades, often with the finger pointed at immigration and globalisation. This column presents evidence from the US between 2000 and 2007 to show that immigrant and native workers are more likely to compete against offshoring than against each other. Moreover, offshoring's productivity gains can spur greater demand for native workers.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg Wright, 26 October 2010

Do immigrants take American jobs? Or does increased efficiency in firms that hire immigrants or practice offshoring generate new jobs for US natives? The authors of CEPR Discussion Paper 8078 develop and test a model which measures both the direct impact of offshoring and hiring immigrants on the employment share of US natives and the indirect gains to US natives from the "cost-savings" effect.

Richard Baldwin, 23 April 2010

Offshoring is one of the most controversial outcomes of globalisation. This column asks whether economists need a new analytic framework to understand it. New research argues that all you need is good old-fashioned trade theory to keep your thinking straight.

Sascha O. Becker, Karolina Ekholm, Marc Muendler, 09 November 2009

How do offshoring firms reshape their domestic workforce? This column, using evidence from German multinationals, shows a positive correlation between offshoring and the firm’s proportion of highly educated workers. Offshoring firms have relatively more domestic jobs involving non-routine and interactive tasks. But offshoring is far from the only explanation for the shift towards more educated employees carrying out more advanced tasks.

Christoph Moser, Dieter Urban, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, 31 October 2009

Do offshoring firms reduce their domestic employment? This column examines plant-level evidence from Germany, using difference-in-differences matching techniques. It says that the positive productivity effect of offshoring dominates possible downsizing effects, raising domestic employment at the establishment.

Alan Blinder, 09 October 2009

Fear of offshoring may force its way back onto policy agendas soon. This column uses a survey of individual workers to measure the offshorability of particular jobs and says that about 25% of US jobs are offshorable. Surprisingly, routine tasks are not more offshorable but those held by more educated workers are.

Ann Harrison, Avraham Ebenstein, Margaret McMillan, Shannon Phillips, 31 August 2009

This column revisits the heated debate over international trade, offshoring, and US wages using new data. It says that increased international exchange with low-income countries has depressed US wages. That effect only arose during the 1990s, suggesting a different conclusion about trade, offshoring, and income inequality than the previous round of debate.

Richard Baldwin, 15 June 2009

According to Alan Blinder, constant improvements in global communications will bring much more offshoring of “impersonal services’’, with an estimated 30 million to 40 million US jobs potentially offshorable. This column warns against taking these numbers at face value and recalls that the US is actually a net insourcer. With the advance of communication technologies, the US should see lots more service jobs “offshored” and lots more “onshored”.

Wolfgang Keller, Stephen Yeaple, 17 March 2009

What jobs are headed overseas? This column emphasises that the feasibility of offshoring tasks is heavily influenced by the costs of transferring technology and managing complex tasks. Offshoring may be less about lower factor costs and more about the race between technology transfers and trade costs.

Giuseppe Bertola, 02 May 2008

There is significant public concern that globalisation heralds the deindustrialisation of rich economies. This column explains why offshoring and immigration are signs of economic vitality and manufacturing strength, not weakness. The key is to address distributional concerns so that all benefit from globalisation.

Lorenzo Casaburi, Valeria Gattai, G. Alfredo Minerva, 08 April 2008

Recent studies have shown that globalisation creates winning and losing firms within the same sector. This column summarises evidence from Italy describing important differences between domestic firms and offshorers. Firms going abroad are larger, but not all modes of offshoring are equal.

Mitsuyo Ando, Fukunari Kimura, 04 December 2007

Offshoring is not new. Kudoka (hollowing-out due to offshoring) has worried Japan since the 1980s. Evidence from Japan presented in a new CEPR Policy Insight suggests that offshoring may help create domestic jobs, especially for SMEs.

Francesco Daveri , Cecilia Jona-Lasinio, 29 November 2007

The public debate on offshoring has created more heat than light to date, but researchers are beginning to get a picture of its real economic impact. New evidence from Italy, based on firm-level data and a direct measure of offshoring, shows that offshoring of parts and components boosts domestic productivity while offshoring of services does not.

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