Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2008

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

by Troy Smith and Jan W. Rivkin

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Wages; Research; United States;

Citation:

Smith, Troy, and Jan W. Rivkin. "A Replication Study of Alan Blinder's 'How Many U.S. Jobs Might Be Offshorable?'." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 08-104, June 2008.