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Service Offshoring and Productivity: Evidence from the United States

Mary Amiti and Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

The practice of sourcing service inputs from overseas suppliers has been growing in response to new technologies that have made it possible to trade in some business and computing services that were previously considered non-tradable. This paper estimates the effects of offshoring on productivity in US manufacturing industries between 1992 and 2000, using instrumental variables estimation to address the potential endogeneity and errors in measurement of offshoring. It finds that service offshoring has a significant positive effect on productivity in the US, accounting for around 11 percent of productivity growth during this period. Offshoring material inputs also has a positive effect on productivity, but the magnitude is smaller accounting for approximately 5 percent of productivity growth.

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