Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade

, Volume 8, Issue 3–4, pp 181–197 | Cite as

Trade in High-Tech Services

  • J. Bradford Jensen


This paper examines the size, scope, and potential implications of trade in high-tech services in the U.S. The results suggest that many service activities are tradable, tradable service activities tend to employ more educated workers and pay higher wages, and high-tech services account for a large share of service activities that are tradable. Service exporters are more prevalent in high-tech industries with larger establishments and higher wages. Within industries, service exporters tend to be larger, pay higher wages, and are more productive. Tradable service activities seem consistent with U.S. comparative advantage and, as a result, less likely to be vulnerable to offshoring. Consistent with this, recent employment growth in tradable service industries is not significantly different than employment growth in non-tradable service industries.


trade in services offshoring outsourcing employment 

JEL Classification

F14 F16 L84 L86 


  1. Bernard, A.B., Eaton, J., Jensen, J.B., and Kortum, S.S., “Plants and productivity in international trade,” American Economic Review, vol. 93(4), pp. 1268–1290, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bernard, A.B. and Jensen, J.B., “Exporters, jobs and wages in U.S. manufacturing,” 1976–87. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity: Microeconomics, 1995.Google Scholar
  3. Bernard, A.B. and Jensen, J.B., “Exporters, skill upgrading, and the wage gap,” Journal of International Economics, vol. 42, pp. 3–31, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernard, A.B. and Jensen, J.B., “Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?” Journal of International Economics, vol. 47(1), pp. 1–26, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernard, A.B. and Jensen, J.B., “Firm structure, multinationals and manufacturing plant deaths,” Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 89(2), pp. 193–204, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bernard, A.B., Jensen, J.B., and Schott, P.K., “Survival of the best fit: competition from low wage countries and the (Uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants,” Journal of International Economics, vol. 68(1), pp. 219–237, 2006a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernard, A.B., Jensen, J.B., and Schott, P.K., “Trade costs, firms, and productivity,” Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 53(5), pp. 917–937, 2006bCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bernard, A.B., Redding, S.J., and Schott, P.K., “Comparative advantage and heterogeneous firms,” Review of Economic Studies, vol. 74(1), pp. 31–66, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blinder, A.S., “Offshoring: the next industrial revolution?” Foreign Affairs, vol. 85(2), 2006, March/April.Google Scholar
  10. Jensen, J.B. and Kletzer, L., “Tradable services: understanding the scope and impact of services offshoring,” in Brainard, L. and Collins, S.M. (eds.), Offshoring White-Collar Work – Issues and Implications, Brookings Trade Forum 2005, pp. 75–134, 2006.Google Scholar
  11. Jensen, J.B., “Service Exporters: Comparative Advantage Across and Within Service Industries,” 2006, manuscript.Google Scholar
  12. McKinsey Global Institute, The Emerging Global Labor Market, 2005.Google Scholar
  13. Melitz, M.J., “The impact of trade on intra-industry reallocations and aggregate industry productivity,” Econometrica, vol. 71, pp. 1695–1725, 2003, November.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McDonough School of BusinessGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Peterson Institute for International EconomicsWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.NBERCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations