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Global Sourcing of Complex Production Processes

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  • Christian Schwarz
  • Jens Suedekum

Abstract

We develop a theory of a firm in an incomplete contracts environment which decides on its complexity, organization, and global scale. Specifically, the firm decides i) how thinly it wants to slice its production process by choosing the mass of symmetric intermediate inputs that are simultaneously combined to a final product, ii) if the supplier of each component is an external contractor or an integrated affiliate, and iii) if that component is offshored to a foreign country. We also consider the case of asymmetric inputs. Our model leads to a rich set of novel predictions about the structure of multinational firms that are consistent with stylized facts from the recent empirical literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3559.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3559

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Keywords: multinational firms; outsourcing; intra-firm trade; offshoring; vertical FDI;

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References

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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Intra-Firm Trade and Product Contractibility," Working Paper Series WP10-3, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "The Empirics of Firm Heterogeneity and International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp1084, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," NBER Working Papers 12091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
  6. Richard Baldwin & Anthony Venables, 2010. "Spiders and snakes: offshoring and agglomeration in the global economy," NBER Working Papers 16611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. José C. Fariñas & Ana Martín-Marcos, 2010. "Foreign Sourcing and Productivity: Evidence at the Firm Level," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 482-506, 03.
  8. Defever, Fabrice & Toubal, Farid, 2013. "Productivity, relationship-specific inputs and the sourcing modes of multinationals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 345-357.
  9. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2004. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 10198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Du, Julan & Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2009. "Bi-sourcing in the global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 215-222, April.
  12. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  13. Pol Antràs & Davin Chor, 2013. "Organizing the Global Value Chain," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2127-2204, November.
  14. Baldwin, Richard, 2009. "Integration of the North American economy and new-paradigm globalisation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7523, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Stefano Federico, 2010. "Outsourcing versus Integration at Home or Abroad," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 742, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  17. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman & Adam Szeidl, 2005. "Complementarities between Outsourcing and Foreign Sourcing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 19-24, May.
  18. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Lijun, 2011. "Global Sourcing of a Complex Good," CEPR Discussion Papers 8614, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan E. Vogel & Su Wang, 2011. "An Elementary Theory of Global Supply Chains," CESifo Working Paper Series 3402, CESifo Group Munich.
  21. Antràs, Pol & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2008. "Organizations and Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6965, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, And Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418, November.
  23. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  24. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton, 2007. "Intra-Industry Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 13447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Corcos, Gregory & Irac, Delphine & Mion, Giordano & Verdier, Thierry, 2009. "The Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7530, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Daron Acemoglu & Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 916-943, June.
  27. Carlo Altomonte & Armando Rungi, 2013. "Business Groups as Hierarchies of Firms: Determinants of Vertical Integration and Performance," Working Papers 2013.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  28. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. 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.
  30. Verena Nowak & Christian Schwarz & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "On the Organizational Structure of Multinational Firms - Which Sourcing Mode for which Input?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3823, CESifo Group Munich.
  31. Stefano Federico, 2010. "Outsourcing versus integration at home or abroad and firm heterogeneity," Empirica, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 47-63, February.
  32. Wilhelm Kohler & Marcel Smolka, 2009. "Global Sourcing Decisions and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 2903, CESifo Group Munich.
  33. Stephen Ross Yeaple, 2006. "Offshoring, Foreign Direct Investment, and the Structure of U.S. Trade," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 602-611, 04-05.
  34. Liza Jabbour, . "“Slicing the Value Chain” Internationally: Empirical Evidence on the Offshoring Strategy by French Firms," Discussion Papers 08/02, University of Nottingham, GEP.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Suedekum, Jens & Nowak, Verena & Schwarz, Christian, 2012. "On the Organizational Structure of Multinational Firms: Which Sourcing Mode for Which Input?," IZA Discussion Papers 6564, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Lijun, 2011. "Global Sourcing of a Complex Good," CEPR Discussion Papers 8614, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nowak, Verena & Schwarz, Christian & Suedekum, Jens, 2014. "Asymmetric spiders: Supplier heterogeneity and the organization of firms," DICE Discussion Papers 141, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

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