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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Asian Economics, Volume 23, Issue 1, February 2012, Pages 39–49
This paper aims to provide the first investigation of the productivity effect of outsourcing by using the Korean industry data at the three-digit ISIC level. We find that there are positive productivity gains from material outsourcing. The impact of material outsourcing increases when we account for the share of imports from China. This is due to the growth of Chinese exports to Korea over the recent years. Moreover, the results also suggest that during our sample period Korea's experiment with service outsourcing did not lead to an increase in its productivity.
Outsourcing or offshoring continues to be a topic of great interest in both the developed and developing countries. Grossman and Rossi-Hansberg (2006, p. 2) note that while “much ink has been spilt on the subject of offshoring” most studies overlook the impact of globalization on productivity. Using U.S. data from 1997 to 2004, they find that the combined productivity and labor-supply effect had a positive impact on the real wage of less-skilled workers. Amiti and Wei (2009) find that service outsourcing accounted for about 10% of labor productivity growth in the U.S. between 1992 and 2000. Also using U.S. data from 1995 to 2002, Mann (2003) calculates that real GDP growth increased 0.3% points annually partly due to lower prices from outsourcing in the IT industry. A few studies examine the productivity effect of outsourcing using European data. Daveri and Jona-Lasinio (2008) find “narrow off-shoring” of intermediates to be beneficial for productivity growth in the Italian manufacturing industries. They define narrow outsourcing as the share of imported intermediate inputs in total purchases of intermediate inputs. However, their result is not robust for service outsourcing and the broad measure of outsourcing defined in Feenstra and Hanson (1999). Focusing on three U.K. manufacturing industries Girma and Görg (2004) find that outsourcing is positively related to productivity. Görg, Hanley, and Strobl (2008) find that between 1990 and 1995 greater outsourcing of both materials and services led to higher productivity in the Irish electronic industry but only for foreign-own firms. For domestic exporters, the positive association between outsourcing and productivity existed only for material inputs. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the impact of Korea's outsourcing activities on productivity in the manufacturing industry. The few available studies that examine the impact of outsourcing on productivity predominately focus on the United States and Europe. To our knowledge, this is the first available study using Korean data. The importance of studying this country is that between 1981 and 2001, intra-regional trade in East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan) expanded about seven times, while world trade increased approximately three times during the same period (Ando, 2006). Therefore, our paper adds to the current literature by examining whether Korea is benefiting from the increasing intra-regional trade in intermediate goods within the region. Ahn, Fukao, and Ito (2008) show that from 1990 to 2003 parts and components and processed intermediate goods accounted for about 65% of the increased trade within East Asia. The impact of outsourcing on productivity has important implications for the long-run growth and development of Korea as the region discusses the possibility of forming a free trade area.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper aims to provide the first investigation of the productivity effect of outsourcing by using the Korean industry data at three-digit ISIC level. We contribute to the literature on the gains from global production sharing. We find that there is positive productivity gain from material outsourcing. This gain may be due to firms outsourcing their inefficient production stages overseas while continuing to focus on the process where they have a comparative advantage. This finding is robust to the inclusion of instrument variables to account for potential endogeneity issues. Interestingly, the results also suggest that during our sample period Korea's experiment with service outsourcing did not lead to an increase in its productivity. The reason could be that it initially experienced misalignments between domestic firms and international providers in service outsourcing. Unlike material outsourcing, there may be language barriers as well as cultural differences in business practices found in service outsourcing. In particular, finding a contractor to assembly products that meet certain specifications may be easier than obtaining a foreign supplier that is fluent in Korean business practices. To further analyze the impact of outsourcing on Korea's productivity, we modify our empirical specification to account for the rising share of imports from China. Weighting the outsourcing variables by Chinese imports, we find an increase in the magnitude of material outsourcing on Korea's productivity. We plan to continue to focus on this extension as more data become available. In addition, we will calculate the implied change in productivity resulting from the change in outsourcing, and compare it to the actual productivity growth observed in the data in order to fully understand the point estimate from the estimated results.