Friday, June 25, 2004

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Trading up to some informative links

Want to know more about American attitudes towards outsourcing and trade? I'll make you a trade -- I'll write, you read [This kind of thinking explains your decision to go into academia for the money--ed.]

Outsourcing info: The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey about offshore outsourcing and employment came out earlier this month -- but note the caveats in this post. I addressed the guesstimates made by management consultants in my Foreign Affairs essay, "The Outsourcing Bogeyman." The preliminary results of the Colorado inquiry on IT jobs and outsourcing comes from this Rocky Mountain News op-ed by one of the principal investigators. The Detroit study can be found at the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference web site. I blogged about both in this guest-post for at MSNBC. On the costs that states are now facing from protectionist measures -- click here for California, and here for Kansas. Finally, I blogged about the the E-Loan experiment on consumer behavior here and here.

Polling data: In an interesting coincidence, the Employment Law Alliance poll about outsourcing and the Associated Press poll about outsourcing were conducted within a week of each other; I blogged about both of these polls last month. You can read about the change in public opinion about trade between 1999 and 2004 by reading this Peronet Despeignes story in USA Today from February of this year. Ron Fournier wrote the Associated Press story about the poll showing Americans believe the economy has lost jobs in the past six months. As for older polling data, Kenneth Scheve's Globalization and the Perceptions of American Workers has a nice review of public attitudes towards all facets of economic globalization in the 1990s. The data about the 1950's comes from I.M. Destler's 1986 book American Trade Politics: System Under Stress. The data on Bush's polling numbers in late 2002 and now can be seen in this Washington Post graph (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan).

Kerry and outsourcing: John Kerry's tax proposal can be found at his campaign website -- here's a link to the press release as well. My initial reactions to it can be read here and here. My assertion that the proposal would not have the desired effect on unemployment comes from this Institute for International Economics policy brief by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Paul Grieco.

Trade politics: An excellent primer on the role that ideas play in the crafting of American foreign economic policy can be found in Judith Goldstein's Ideas, Interests, and American Trade Policy [Full disclosure: Goldstein was one of my professors when I was a graduate student at Stanford]. Robert Rubin's observations about the state of American trade politics can be found in his engaging memoir In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington (co-authored with Jacob Weisberg) . The point about praising imports can be found on page 394. Robert Zoellick's op-ed can be found in the digital archives of the New York Times for a fee -- or the USTR web site for free. Finally, on the current state of play for the Doha round, see this post from earlier this month, as well as Jeffrey Schott's excellent backgrounder for the Institute of International Economics.

[Ahem, didn't you promise to take a break on the outsourcing stuff?--ed. That was almost two weeks ago!! In blog years, that's quite a stretch.]

UPDATE: Brad DeLong has some trenchant criticisms of this essay over at Semi-Daily Journal. My major beef is with his last point:

[One problem is] Drezner's failure to mention one obvious thing that he could do, personally, to help the situation: vote for Presidents like Bill Clinton, who understands the substantive policy arguments and will choose people like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers to be the Grand Economic Vizier. Don't vote for people like George W. Bush, who will never be briefed-up enough to understand what is at stake and will appoint people whose career high point was the formation of a global aluminum producers' cartel.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure that neither John Kerry nor George W. Bush will embrace the merits of free trade with the same enthusiasm of President Clinton. Neither Kerry's rhetoric nor his policy proposals to date make me particularly sanguine about his future foreign economic policies.

posted by Dan on 06.25.04 at 11:43 AM


Your outsourcing threads are the best part of this blog. No one asked you stop writing them. We have enough general purpose moderately right-wing academic blogs out there. I'd much rather read a blog with an emphasis on defending outsourcing.

posted by: Xavier on 06.25.04 at 11:43 AM [permalink]

Based on the definitions in the outsourcing study, it seems clear that it does *not* consider the case in which a company (Company A) switches sourcing of components from a domestic supplier (Company B) to a foreign supplier. Company A has not "reassigned work activities that were performed at a worksite by the
company's employees," because the work was being performed by B's employees, not A's. And Company B did not "move work," because from their viewpoint, nothing was moved--they simply lost the contract.

This seems like a huge gap. Do the people who do these studies actually understand how production is organized in real industries?

posted by: David Foster on 06.25.04 at 11:43 AM [permalink]

Excellent collection of polls related to US opions on trade. I would also offer another poll related to globalization and trade with detailed information from the European perspective:

Keep blogging on the outsourcing issue - I love to read your comments and your readers's comments.

posted by: Todd on 06.25.04 at 11:43 AM [permalink]

Regarding outsourcing, read a very good article about the difference between campaign speeches and the facts at
Kerry says Ni Hao

"...Nine percent of non-seasonal U.S. layoffs in the first quarter were due to outsourcing, but less than a third of the work was sent overseas, the U.S. Labor Department said in releasing new figures on mass layoffs and outsourcing...In more than seven out of 10 cases, the work activities were reassigned to places elsewhere in the U.S.

posted by: Myoman on 06.25.04 at 11:43 AM [permalink]

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