Offshoring has since long been a matter of concern in developed countries and has recently received growing attention in the economic literature. The aim of this paper is to provide a critical review of definitions of offshoring that have been put forward in recent years, thereby updating the definitions in earlier publications of the Federal Planning Bureau. We also take a closer look at how offshoring can be measured. In the absence of individual firm data, we focus on indirect trade-based measures of offshoring, compare them and present results for Belgium that show an upward trend in offshoring.
This paper provides a rough estimate for Belgium of the proportion of service jobs at risk of being offshored in the wake of ICT-developments, and compares the results for Belgium with results for the EU15 and the US. Occupational employment data from the Labour Force Survey are used to produce this estimate by identifying service jobs that could possibly be offshored due to ICT-enabled tradability. The results show that the share of such jobs is lower for Belgium than for the EU15 or the US, but that there is an upward trend in this share over the period 1993 to 2005. Industry-level data and a shift-and-share analysis are used to explain the results.