A Replication Study of Alan Blinder's 'How Many U.S. Jobs Might Be Offshorable?'

30 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2008

See all articles by Troy D. Smith

Troy D. Smith

RAND Corporation

Jan W. Rivkin

Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit

Date Written: June 11, 2008


In a 2007 working paper, Alan Blinder assessed the offshorability of hundreds of U.S. occupations and estimated that between 22% and 29% of all U.S. jobs were potentially offshorable. This note reports the results of an exercise in which members of Harvard Business School's MBA Class of 2009 collectively attempted to replicate Blinder's study. Overall, the MBA students' assessments of offshorability matched Blinder's well. Across occupations, the correlation between Blinder's offshorability rating and the students' was 0.60. The students estimated that between 21% and 42% of U.S. jobs are potentially offshorable. Echoing Blinder, the student data suggested a positive correlation between offshorability and education. The student data also revealed a positive or inverted-U relationship between offshorability and wage level, where Blinder found no correlation. While Blinder found a slight wage penalty for the most offshorable jobs, the student data exhibited no evidence of wage depreciation from job contestability due to offshoring.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Troy D. and Rivkin, Jan, A Replication Study of Alan Blinder's 'How Many U.S. Jobs Might Be Offshorable?' (June 11, 2008). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 08-104, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1148273 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1148273

Troy D. Smith

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
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3103930411 (Phone)

Jan Rivkin (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6690 (Phone)
617-495-0355 (Fax)

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