Upjohn Author ORCID Identifier


Publication Date



Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 09-157

**Published Version**

In Labor in the New Economy, Katharine G. Abraham, James R. Spletzer, and Michael J. Harper, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, pp. 267-304




A variety of evidence points to significant growth in domestic contracting out over the last two decades, yet the phenomenon is not well documented. In this paper, we pull together data from various sources to shed light on the extent of and trends in domestic outsourcing, the occupations in which it has grown, and the industries engaging in outsourcing for the employment services sector, which has been a particularly important area of domestic outsourcing. In addition, we examine evidence of contracting out of selected occupations to other sectors. We point to many gaps in our knowledge on trends in domestic outsourcing and its implications for employment patterns and to inconsistencies across data sets in the information that is available. We recommend steps to improve data in this area.

Issue Date

November 2007, Revised May 2008, Revised September 2009


First prepared for the CRIW Conference (Conference on Research in Income and Wealth) on Labor in the New Economy, Bethesda, Maryland, November 16-17, 2007

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Employment relationships; Temporary employment


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Dey, Matthew, Susan N. Houseman, and Anne Polivka. 2009. "What Do We Know about Contracting Out in the United States? Evidence from Household and Establishment Surveys." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 09-157. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp09-157