By Jagdish Bhagwati, Alan S. Blinder
Prime economists talk about a number of matters on the subject of the "offshoring" of yank jobs, from loose alternate to unemployment degrees.
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Extra info for Offshoring of American Jobs: What Response from U.S. Economic Policy? (Alvin Hansen Symposium Series on Public Policy)
C. O. Matthews, my Cambridge University tutor in 1954–1956, who had written a classic paper on increasing returns, and with others such as the Nobel Laureate James Meade and Harry Johnson following soon after, who showed that sufﬁciently increasing returns would imply multiple equilibria and that this in turn implied (among other things) that there could exist a better free-trade equilibrium than the one we may be in. Matthews and Meade, and many others such as Murray Kemp, had made this observation but by using the analytical device that the increasing returns were external to the ﬁrm but internal to the industry, a device that enabled perfect competition to be maintained.
In this context, four things are worth noting. First, and without repeating arguments I have already made, I believe the adjustment to offshoring will be of major magnitude, will last a long time, and will create millions of losers. Those are precisely the ingredients needed to create a big political issue—even before you throw in the demagoguery. 42 Alan S. Blinder Second, service offshoring is exposing an entirely new class of people to the joys of competition from cheap foreign labor. Factory workers in rich countries have come to understand, sometimes through bitter experience, that people in emerging-market countries can do their jobs pretty well—and at a fraction of their wages.
Even where jobs are simply rendered offshorable, rather than actually moved offshore, the threat of potential offshoring would be expected to create downward pressure on real wages. Might this be happening already? My priors told me no; wage loss from offshoring is something to worry about in the future, not now. But a simple wage regression for 2004, run using the constructed data on offshorability mentioned earlier, says otherwise. Speciﬁcally, in Blinder 2008 I ran the following conventional log wage equation across 291 occupations:23 ln(w) = const.
Offshoring of American Jobs: What Response from U.S. Economic Policy? (Alvin Hansen Symposium Series on Public Policy) by Jagdish Bhagwati, Alan S. Blinder