Former White House economist Alan Blinder says that 38 percent of American workers are in “tradable, and therefore, offshorable, occupations,” and the government needs to find a policy to address the potentially massive job losses immediately.
“Although overshadowed by the financial crisis and the world recession right now, the debate over offshoring — that is, outsourcing work to foreign, often poorer, countries — seems poised to stage a comeback as a public policy concern,” writes Blinder, who is also a former vice chairman of the Fed and is now a Princeton University professor.
“Indeed, with so much protectionist talk and some protectionist action in the air, fear of offshoring may force its way back onto the policy agendas of the U.S.”
Writing on Voxeu.org, an economics news site, Blinder said that estimates indicate that nearly 40 percent of U.S. occupations can be outsourced to the third world.
His own research, however, is much more conservative.
“I used data on job content to assess the offshorability of each of roughly 800 U.S. occupations,” writes Blinder.
“My conservative, moderate, and aggressive definitions placed 22.2 percent, 25.6 percent, and 29.0 percent, respectively, of all U.S. jobs in the offshorable category. Even though these estimates are not all comparable, they present a distressingly wide range — from 11 percent to 38 percent.”
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