What Do We Know About Contracting Out in the United States? Evidence from Household and Establishment Surveys

Upjohn Institute Staff Working Paper No. 09-157

50 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2009

See all articles by Matthew Dey

Matthew Dey

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Susan N. Houseman

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Anne Elise Polivka

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Date Written: September 24, 2009

Abstract

A variety of evidence points to significant growth in domestic contracting out over the last two decades, yet the phenomenon is not well documented. In this paper, we pull together data from various sources to shed light on the extent of and trends in domestic outsourcing, the occupations in which it has grown, and the industries engaging in outsourcing for the employment services sector, which has been a particularly important area of domestic outsourcing. In addition, we examine evidence of contracting out of selected occupations to other sectors. We point to many gaps in our knowledge on trends in domestic outsourcing and its implications for employment patterns and to inconsistencies across data sets in the information that is available. We recommend steps to improve data in this area.

Keywords: outsourcing, contracting out, employment services

JEL Classification: J21, L84, J24

Suggested Citation

Dey, Matthew and Houseman, Susan N. and Polivka, Anne E., What Do We Know About Contracting Out in the United States? Evidence from Household and Establishment Surveys (September 24, 2009). Upjohn Institute Staff Working Paper No. 09-157, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1477899 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1477899

Matthew Dey

Bureau of Labor Statistics ( email )

2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20212
United States

Susan N. Houseman (Contact Author)

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research ( email )

300 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4686
United States

Anne E. Polivka

Bureau of Labor Statistics ( email )

2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Office of Employment Research and Program Development Suite 4945
Washington, DC 20212
United States
(202) 691-7395 (Phone)
(202) 691-7425 (Fax)

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