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Offshoring Jobs? Multinationals and U.S. Manufacturing Employment

Ann Harrison () and Margaret McMillan ()

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2011, vol. 93, issue 3, 857-875

Abstract: Using firm-level data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we estimate the impact on U.S. manufacturing employment of changes in foreign affiliate wages. We show that the motive for offshoring and, consequently, the location of offshore activity, significantly affects the impact of offshoring on parent employment. In general, offshoring to low-wage countries substitutes for domestic employment. However, for firms that do significantly different tasks at home and abroad, foreign and domestic employment are complements. These offsetting effects may be combined to show that offshoring by U.S.-based multinationals is associated with a quantitatively small decline in manufacturing employment. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Date: 2011
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