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The determinants of changes in the organization of production: Evidence from Spanish plant-level data

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Author Info

  • Bayo, Alberto

    ()
    (Universidad Publica de Navarra)

  • Galdon-Sanchez, Jose E.

    (UC-Santa Cruz)

  • Gil, Ricard

    (UC-Santa Cruz)

Abstract

In this paper we empirically examine the determinants of changes in the organization of production using detailed information on a data set from a new plant-level survey of 1003 plants covering the full range of manufacturing industries in Spain. In particular, and among many other things, survey respondents were asked how service outsourcing practices had changed in the last three years. The answer to this question is indicative of the changes in the importance of backward integration for each of the plants studied. Using other information provided in the survey, we relate the reported changes in outsourcing to changes in other relevant dimensions as possible determinants of the boundaries of the firm. These dimensions are: plant size, downstream market power, cost of inputs, price and quality of the final good and technological progress. Our findings show that outsourcing increases are strongly positively correlated with increases in market share and in market competition. We also find that outsourcing increases when plants face simultaneous increases in product quality and product prices and that it decreases when plants face simultaneous increases in market share and market competition. Finally, we find that multi-plant and one-plant firms adjust their outsourcing practices differently to outside changes. Since neither TCE nor PRT theories of vertical integration fully explain the patterns found in our data, we close this paper by following Adam Smith's claim that the extent of the market seems to be the only factor consistently limiting the degree of specialization in our setting.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IESE Business School in its series IESE Research Papers with number D/783.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 15 Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0783

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Postal: IESE Business School, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN
Web page: http://www.iese.edu/
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Keywords: outsourcing; vertical integration; competition; manufacturing plants;

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References

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  1. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2008. "Competitive Prices and Organizational Choices," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-173, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Rachel Griffith & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2010. "Vertical Integration and Technology: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 989-1033, 09.
  3. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Gil, Ricard, 2007. ""Make-or-buy" in movies: Integration and ex-post renegotiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 643-655, August.
  5. Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries : The Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 799, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
  7. Masten, Scott E, 1984. "The Organization of Production: Evidence from the Aerospace Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 403-17, October.
  8. Jean-Etienne de Bettignies, 2006. "Product market competition and boundaries of the firm," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(3), pages 948-970, August.
  9. 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.
  10. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  11. Monteverde, Kirk & Teece, David J, 1982. "Appropriable Rents and Quasi-Vertical Integration," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 321-28, October.
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