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Incomplete Contracts and the Impact of Globalization on Consumer Welfare

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  • Fabrice Defever

Abstract

We embed a North-South trade model into an incomplete contracts setting where the production of heterogeneous firms can be geographically separated. When a Northern headquarter contracts with a Southern supplier instead of a Northern supplier, the presence of international incomplete contracts may lead to a higher price. As a result, trade liberalization, that induces offshoring, is not necessarily welfare-enhancing for consumers, despite the lower cost of labor in the South. In addition, firms which use the supplier’s component intensively, offshore their supplier in the South using outsourcing. As trade costs fall, less component-intensive firms also offshore, but by vertically integrating their supplier. We argue that this organizational change increases production-shifting in the South, implying that a larger number of varieties will be produced in the South where contracts are incomplete. We show that, this may reduce consumer welfare in both countries.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3484.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3484

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Keywords: consumer welfare; incomplete contracts; hold-up problem;

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References

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  1. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2003. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," CEPR Discussion Papers 3737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Fabrice Defever & Farid Toubal, 2007. "Productivity and the Sourcing Modes of Multinational Firms: Evidence from French Firm-Level Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp0842, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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  18. Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2008. "Temporary shocks and offshoring: The role of external economies and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 76-84, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Defever, Fabrice & Toubal, Farid, 2011. "Productivity, Relationship-Specific Inputs and the Sourcing Modes of Multinationals," CEPR Discussion Papers 8656, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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