Statistics to Measure Offshoring and its Impact

Robert C. Feenstra

NBER Working Paper No. 23067
Issued in January 2017
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment

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.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23067

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Fontagné and Harrison w23016 The Factory-Free Economy: Outsourcing, Servitization and the Future of Industry
Wang, Wei, Yu, and Zhu w23222 Measures of Participation in Global Value Chains and Global Business Cycles
Helpman w22944 Globalization and Wage Inequality
Amighini, McMillan, and Sanfilippo w23049 FDI and Capital Formation in Developing Economies: New Evidence from Industry-level Data
Johnson and Noguera w22974 A Portrait of Trade in Value Added over Four Decades
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us