NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Statistics to Measure Offshoring and its Impact

Robert C. Feenstra

NBER Working Paper No. 23067
Issued in January 2017
NBER Program(s):   ITI

We identify “first generation” statistics to measure offshoring as the share of imported intermediate inputs in costs, along with O*NET data to measure the tradability of tasks. These data were used to measure the shifts in relative labor demand and relative wages due to offshoring. A limitation of these statistics is that they cannot be used to measure the impact on real wages, and for that purpose, we need price-based measures of offshoring. More recently, “second generation” statistics have arisen from global input-output tables. These measures include the foreign value-added in exports, or its counterpart, the domestic value-added in exports. We illustrate the foreign value-added component in the surge of Chinese exports following its WTO entry in 2001. We argue that such second-generation statistics should also be supplemented by price-based measure of offshoring, and we propose one simple measure that extends the effective rate of protection on imports to apply to exported goods.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23067

 
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