From Flexibility to Insecurity: How Vertical Separation Amplifies Firm-level Uncertainty
AbstractThis article presents a model where firms may endogenously externalize part of their production process. We start from the premise that adaptation to uncertainty cannot be contracted upon in the worker/employer relationship. Vertical separation then balances flexibility gains against hold-up costs of opportunistic behavior by outside contractors. In equilibrium, the degree of separation is shown to depend on the degree of product market competition, contractor's bargaining power, and the volatility of demand shocks. Our main result is that an increase in the degree of vertical separation amplifies the elasticity to demand shocks of firms' sales and employment. It does not, however, amplify aggregate uncertainty. Evidence from firm-level data is shown to be largely consistent with the main implications of our theory. (JEL: L16, L23, L24) (c) 2007 by the European Economic Association.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.
Volume (Year): 5 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
- L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
- L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
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