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Trade Liberalization and Organizational Choice

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  • Paola Conconi

    ()
    (Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES) and CEPR)

  • Patrick Legros

    ()
    (Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES) and CEPR)

  • Andrew F. Newman

    ()
    (Boston University and CEPR)

Abstract

We embed a simple incomplete-contracts model of organization design in a standard two-country, perfectly-competitive trade model to examine how the liberalization of product and factor markets affects the ownership structure of firms. In our model, managers decide whether or not to integrate their firms, trading off the pecuniary benefits of coordinating production decisions with the private benefits of operating in their preferred ways. The price of output is a crucial determinant of this choice, since it affects the size of the pecuniary benefits. In particular, non-integration is chosen at "low" and "high" prices, while integration occurs only at moderate prices. Organizational choices also depend on the terms of trade in supplier markets, which affect the division of surplus between managers. We obtain three main results. First, joint product and factor market integration leads to the convergence of organization design across countries. Second, even in the absence of factor movements, the price changes triggered by liberalization of product markets can lead to significant organizational restructuring within countries. Third, the removal of barriers to factor mobility can induce further organizational changes, sometimes adversely affecting consumers, which suggests a potential complementarity between trade policy and corporate governance policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series with number dp-172.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-172

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References

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  1. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," NBER Working Papers 9740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Antràs, Pol & Staiger, Robert, 2008. "Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements," CEPR Discussion Papers 6966, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Holger Breinlich, 2006. "Trade Liberalization and Industrial Restructuring through Mergers and Acquisitions," CEP Discussion Papers dp0717, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Power Inside the Firm and the Market: a General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 3526, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
  6. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2005, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," Working Papers 147, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  10. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 1996. "Wealth Effects, Distribution, and the Theory of Organization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 312-341, August.
  11. McLaren, J., 1996. "'Globalization' and Vertical Structure," Discussion Papers 1996_21, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  12. Ornelas, Emanuel & Turner, John L., 2008. "Trade liberalization, outsourcing, and the hold-up problem," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 225-241, January.
  13. Maria Guadalupe & Julie Wulf, 2008. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 14491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  15. Guadalupe, Maria & Wulf, Julie, 2009. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 7253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pol Antràs, 2011. "Grossman-Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," NBER Working Papers 17470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ana Fernandes & Heiwai Tang, 2010. "The Determinants of Vertical Integration in Export Processing: Theory and Evidence from China," CEP Discussion Papers dp0980, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Alfaro, Laura & Conconi, Paola & Fadinger, Harald & Newman, Andrew, 2010. "Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7899, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Emanuel Ornelas & John L. Turner, 2012. "Protection and International Sourcing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 26-63, 03.

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