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Contractual Frictions and Global Sourcing

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  • Antras, Pol
  • Helpman, Elhanan

Abstract

We generalize the Antràs and Helpman (2004) model of the international organization of production in order to accommodate varying degrees of contractual frictions. In particular, we allow the degree of contractibility to vary across inputs and countries. A continuum of firms with heterogeneous productivities decide whether to integrate or outsource the production of intermediate inputs, and from which country to source them. Final-good producers and their suppliers make relationship-specific investments which are only partially contractible, both in an integrated firm and in an arm’s-length relationship. We describe equilibria in which firms with different productivity levels choose different ownership structures and supplier locations, and then study the effects of changes in the quality of contractual institutions on the relative prevalence of these organizational forms. Better contracting institutions in the South raise the prevalence of offshoring, but may reduce the relative prevalence of FDI or foreign outsourcing. The impact on the composition of offshoring depends on whether the institutional improvement affects disproportionately the contractibility of a particular input. A key message of the paper is that improvements in the contractibility of inputs controlled by final-good producers have different effects than improvements in the contractibility of inputs controlled by suppliers.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6033.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6033

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Keywords: contractual frictions; FDI; sourcing; trade;

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  1. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Helpman, Elhanan, 2006. "Trade, FDI and the Organization of Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  4. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
  6. J. Bradford Jensen & Andrew Bernard & Peter Schott, 2005. "Importers, Exporters, and Multinationals: A Portrait of Firms in the U.S. that Trade Goods," Working Papers 05-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1998, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Feenstra, Robert C & Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 240-45, May.
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  13. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," NBER Working Papers 9945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Michael P. Keane & Susan E. Feinberg, 2006. "Accounting for the Growth of MNC-Based Trade Using a Structural Model of U.S. MNCs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1515-1558, December.
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  18. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The evolving external orientation of manufacturing: a profile of four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 53-81.
  19. Acemoglu, Daron & Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," Scholarly Articles 3199063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
  21. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Goswami, Arti Grover, 2013. "Vertical FDI versus outsourcing: The role of technology transfer costs," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-21.
  2. Ryuhei Wakasugi & Banri Ito & Eiichi Tomiura, 2008. "Offshoring and Trade in East Asia: A Statistical Analysis," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 7(3), pages 101-124, October.
  3. Tarun Kabiraj & Uday Bhanu Sinha, 2011. "Strategic Outsourcing with Technology Transfer," Working papers 203, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  4. Wilhelm Kohler, 2007. "The Bazaar Effect, Unbundling of Comparative Advantage, and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 1932, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Li, Ben & Lu, Yi, 2009. "Geographic concentration and vertical disintegration: Evidence from China," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 294-304, May.
  6. TOMIURA Eiichi, 2007. "Global Sourcing, Technology, and Factor Intensity: Firm-level Relationships," Discussion papers 07024, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  7. Rosario Crinò, 2007. "Offshoring, Multinationals and Labor Market: A Review of the Empirical Literature," KITeS Working Papers 196, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jan 2007.
  8. Marcella Nicolini, 2007. "Institutions and Offshoring Decision," CESifo Working Paper Series 2074, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Anna M. Falzoni & Lucia Tajoli, 2008. "Offshoring and the skill composition of employment in the Italian manufacturing industries," KITeS Working Papers 219, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2008.
  10. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2009. "Foreign versus domestic outsourcing: Firm-level evidence on the role of technology," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 219-226, March.

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