Offshoring and Inflation
92 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2020 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 2020
Did trade integration suppress inflation in the United States? Conventional wisdom says “yes,” based on the disinflationary supply-side impacts of trade. We argue that these supply-side arguments are incomplete, because trade integration also influences aggregate demand. Our analysis leverages two facts: trade integration was a long-lasting, phased-in shock, and offshoring accounts for a large share of it. Given these facts, we show trade integration is inflationary in conventional New Keynesian models. This result continues to hold when we account for US trade deficits, the pro-competitive effects of trade on domestic markups, and cross-sector heterogeneity in trade integration.
Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation