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Global sourcing of a complex good

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  • Johannes Van Biesebroeck
  • Lijun ZHANG

Abstract

We analyze a firm that produces a final good from multiple intermediates that can each be sourced domestically or from a low-wage country. The model explicitly incorporates that sourcing decisions of intermediates are interdependent. Equilibrium predictions depend crucially on a key modeling assumption - the nature of the trade friction that foreign production has to overcome. If production abroad involves a fixed cost, offshoring one intermediate unambiguously facilitates offshoring of other intermediates. However, if production abroad involves incomplete contracts, offshoring one intermediate almost always makes it more difficult to offshore others. We illustrate that the pattern in prices at which successive automotive parts are imported into the U.S. accords better with the predictions of the incomplete contracting model, except for a few countries with the best governance indicators.

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Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces11.26.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces11.26

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 916-943, June.
  2. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2004. "An Assignment Theory of Foreign Direct Investment," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-003, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Antràs, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Sharon Novak & Scott Stern, 2009. "Complementarity Among Vertical Integration Decisions: Evidence from Automobile Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(2), pages 311-332, February.
  5. Robert C. Feenstra & Andrew K. Rose, 2000. "Putting Things In Order: Trade Dynamics And Product Cycles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 369-382, August.
  6. Ann Bartel & Saul Lach & Nachum Sicherman, 2005. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 11158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Helpman, Elhanan & Antras, Pol, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 4784029, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  9. David Hummels & Jun Ishii & Kei-Mu Yi, 1999. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Staff Reports 72, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Alla Lileeva & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "Outsourcing when Investments are Specific and Complementary," Working Papers tecipa-287, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  11. Christian Schwarz & Jens Suedekum, 2011. "Global Sourcing of Complex Production Processes," CESifo Working Paper Series 3559, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban & Antras, Pol, 2009. "Organizations and Trade," Scholarly Articles 3199064, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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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. Christian Schwarz & Jens Suedekum, 2011. "Global Sourcing of Complex Production Processes," CESifo Working Paper Series 3559, CESifo Group Munich.
  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. Antras, Pol, 2014. "Grossman-Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," Scholarly Articles 12220386, Harvard University Department of Economics.

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