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Offshoring in the Semiconductor Industry: A Historical Perspective

Brown, Clair and Linden, Greg (2005) Offshoring in the Semiconductor Industry: A Historical Perspective. [Industry Studies Working Paper:2005-02]



Semiconductor design is one of the many white-collar job categories considered to be at risk from offshoring by U.S. companies via investments and outsourcing. Data about this activity are scarce and hard to interpret, but there is much to be learned from looking at earlier periods in the industry’s history when other phases of the semiconductor value chain – assembly and fabrication – experienced rapid offshore expansion. This paper reviews the lessons from these earlier offshore movements of semiconductor industry jobs in assembly. Then it analyzes the offshoring of semiconductor fabrication and then design; this analysis is based on our ongoing field research combined with trade press reports and government data. The experience of assembly and fabrication supports the claim by some that offshoring is a reasonable response to the competitive challenges and opportunities facing the semiconductor industry, and that the industry will adapt in ways that aren’t necessarily clear from the outset. Nevertheless, the outcome of the current offshoring of design provides evidence that some U.S. chip design engineers face at least short-term displacement as a result of the industry’s current round of globalization.

Industry Studies Series #:2005-02
Item Type:Industry Studies Working Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords:industry studies, industry studies working paper, industry studies association, industry studies research
ID Code:58
Deposited By:Mr Robin Peterson
Deposited On:18 Feb 2010 13:49
Last Modified:07 Jun 2010 10:44

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