On the Employment Consequences of Automation and Offshoring: A Labor Market Sorting View
Lili Yan Ing, Gene M. Grossman (eds), Robots and AI: A New Economic Era. Routledge: London,
We argue that automation may make workers and firms more selective in matching their specialized skills and tasks. We call this phenomenon “core-biased technological change”, and wonder whether something similar could be relevant also for offshoring. Looking for evidence in occupational data for European industries, we find that automation increases workers’ and firms’ selectivity as captured by longer unemployment duration, less skill-task mismatch, and more concentration of specialized knowledge in specific tasks. This does not happen in the case of offshoring, though offshoring reinforces the effects of automation. We show that a labor market model with two-sided heterogeneity and search frictions can rationalize these empirical findings if automation strengthens while offshoring weakens the assortativity between workers’ skills and firms’ tasks in the production process, and automation and offshoring complement each other. Under these conditions, automation decreases employment and increases wage inequality whereas offshoring has opposite effects.
Offshoring, Domestic Employment and Production. Evidence from the German International Sourcing Survey
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyses the effect of offshoring (i.e., the relocation of activities previously performed in-house to foreign countries) on various firm outcomes (domestic employment, production, and productivity). It uses data from the International Sourcing Survey (ISS) 2017 for Germany, linked to other firm level data such as business register and ITGS data. First, we find that offshoring is a rare event: In the sample of firms with 50 or more persons employed, only about 3% of manufacturing firms and 1% of business service firms have performed offshoring in the period 2014-2016. Second, difference-in-differences propensity score matching estimates reveal a negative effect of offshoring on domestic employment and production. Most of this negative effect is not because the offshoring firms shrink, but rather because they don’t grow as fast as the non-offshoring firms. We further decompose the underlying employment dynamics by using direct survey evidence on how many jobs the firms destroyed/created due to offshoring. Moreover, we do not find an effect on labour productivity, since the negative effect on domestic employment and production are more or less of the same size. Third, the German data confirm previous findings for Denmark that offshoring is associated with an increase in the share of ‘produced goods imports’, i.e. offshoring firms increase their imports for the same goods they continue to produce domestically. In contrast, it is not the case that offshoring firms increase the share of intermediate goods imports (a commonly used proxy for offshoring), as defined by the BEC Rev. 5 classification.
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Referierte Publikationen ...
Automation, Globalization and Vanishing Jobs: A Labor Market Sorting View
IZA Discussion Paper,
We show, theoretically and empirically, that the effects of technological change associated with automation and offshoring on the labor market can substantially deviate from standard neoclassical conclusions when search frictions hinder efficient assortative matching between firms with heterogeneous tasks and workers with heterogeneous skills. Our key hypothesis is that better matches enjoy a comparative advantage in exploiting automation and a comparative disadvantage in exploiting offshoring. It implies that automation (offshoring) may reduce (raise) employment by lengthening (shortening) unemployment duration due to higher (lower) match selectivity. We find empirical support for this implication in a dataset covering 92 occupations and 16 sectors in 13 European countries from 1995 to 2010.
R&D Offshoring and the Productivity Growth of European Regions
CIRCLE Working Papers, No. 20,
The recent increase in R&D offshoring have raised fears that knowledge and competitiveness in advanced countries may be at risk of 'hollowing out'. At the same time, economic research has stressed that this process is also likely to allow some reverse technology transfer and foster growth at home. This paper addresses this issue by investigating the extent to which R&D offshoring is associated with productivity dynamics of European regions. We find that offshoring regions have higher productivity growth, but this positive effect fades down with the number of investment projects carried out abroad. A large and positive correlation emerge between the extent of R&D offshoring and the home region productivity growth, supporting the idea that carrying out R&D abroad strengthen European competitiveness.
The Economic Geography of Offshoring.
Der Begriff Offshoring bezeichnet die (zumindest teilweise) Geschäftsverlagung nach Übersee bzw. den Einkauf ehemals unternehmenseigener Dienstleistungen aus Entwicklungsländern. Heute sind Offshoring-Aktivitäten vor allem bei Dienstleitungen interessant, welche digitale Verarbeitungsprozesse beinhalten. Auch Unternehmensleistungen mit niedrigen Transaktionskosten bzw. Aktivitäten wo andere Länder Standortvorteile aufweisen eignen sich für Offshoring. Allerdings sind die Möglichkeiten des Offshoring auch immer individuell vom Unternehmen selbst sowie vom entsprechenden Rechtssystem des Landes abhängig.