Outsourcing of Services and the Productivity Recovery in U.S. Manufacturing in the 1980s and 1990s

Thus Ten Raa, Edward Wolff

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Manufacturing productivity growth recovered during the 1980s and 1990s, while other sectors, particularly services, did not. In the same period U.S. manufacturing has engaged in the "outsourcing" or "contracting-out" of service functions. Has the recovery of manufacturing been accomplished by industrial reorganization - sloughing off sluggish services - rather than technical progress? We analyze this question by reducing service inputs to their consituent elements of material inputs. Service productivity growth is thus imputed to the goods sectors, reducing the recovery of manufacturing productivity growth in the 1980s by one fifth. The recovery lasted through the 1990s, when high productivity performers in manufacturing have been relatively successful at outsourcing sluggishservices.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)149-165
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Productivity Analysis
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001



    • Outsourcing
    • Productivity
    • Services

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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