Alternative Measures of Offshorability: A Survey Approach
41 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2009 Last revised: 1 Oct 2009
Date Written: August 2009
This paper reports on a household survey specially designed to measure what we call the "offshorability" of jobs, defined as the ability to perform the work duties from abroad. We develop multiple measures of offshorability, using both self-reporting and professional coders. All the measures find that roughly 25% of U.S. jobs are offshorable. Our three preferred measures agree between 70% and 80% of the time. Furthermore, professional coders appear to provide the most accurate assessments, which is good news because the Census Bureau could collect data on offshorability without adding a single question to the CPS. Empirically, more educated workers appear to hold somewhat more offshorable jobs, and offshorability does not have systematic effects on either wages or the probability of layoff. Perhaps most surprisingly, routine work is no more offshorable than other work.
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