Offshoring, the Nature of Tasks, and Occupational Stability: Empirical Evidence for Germany


  • The author is grateful to Ronald Bachmann, Thomas K. Bauer, Ingo Geishecker, Alfredo Paloyo, Hendrik Schmitz, and the associate editor, Richard Kneller, for valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper (which circulated under the title “International Outsourcing, the Nature of Tasks, and Occupational Stability: Empirical Evidence for Germany”). This paper also benefited from comments and discussions at the annual conference of the European Trade Study Group 2008 in Warsaw, the third User Conference on the Analysis of BA and IAB Data in Nuremberg, the 11th Workshop ‘International Economic Relations’ in Göttingen, the International Workshop ‘Poverty and Inequality in the Global Economy’ in Mannheim, and at two seminars of the RGS Econ in Essen and Bochum. The author also thanks the staff at the IAB for hospitality and help with the data. Financial support by the Leibniz Association is gratefully acknowledged. The usual disclaimer applies.


Using a large administrative data set of individual employment histories for Germany, this paper studies the relationship between offshoring and the individual risk of leaving the occupation. Moreover, a rich data set on tasks performed in occupations is used to better characterise the sources of worker vulnerability. Both material and service offshoring are, on average, not associated with an increase in occupational outflow rates. However, this association depends on the nature of tasks performed in the occupation. Higher intensities of interactive and, in particular, non-routine tasks are associated with a larger decrease (or a smaller increase) in the occupational hazard rate.