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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, 2013. "Intra-Firm Trade And Product Contractibility," Working Papers 13-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. 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.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "The Empirics of Firm Heterogeneity and International Trade," NBER Working Papers 17627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 729-761, May.
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  6. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 589-630, September.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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  10. 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.
  11. 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).
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  19. 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.
  20. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan E. Vogel & Su Wang, 2011. "An Elementary Theory of Global Supply Chains," CESifo Working Paper Series 3402, CESifo Group Munich.
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  22. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  23. 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.
  24. Daron Acemoglu & Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 916-943, June.
  25. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton, 2009. "Intra-industry Foreign Direct Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2096-2119, December.
  26. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Lijun, 2011. "Global Sourcing of a Complex Good," CEPR Discussion Papers 8614, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Eiichi Tomiura, 2005. "Foreign Outsourcing, Exporting, and FDI: A Productivity Comparison at the Firm Level," Discussion Paper Series 168, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  28. Liza Jabbour, . "“Slicing the Value Chain” Internationally: Empirical Evidence on the Offshoring Strategy by French Firms," Discussion Papers 08/02, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  29. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, And Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418, November.
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  32. 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.
  33. Helpman, Elhanan & Antras, Pol, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 4784029, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Lijun, 2011. "Global Sourcing of a Complex Good," CEPR Discussion Papers 8614, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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