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Organizing the Global Value Chain

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  • Pol Antràs
  • Davin Chor

Abstract

We develop a property-rights model of the firm in which production entails a continuum of uniquely sequenced stages. In each stage, a final-good producer contracts with a distinct supplier for the procurement of a customized stage-specific component. Our model yields a sharp characterization for the optimal allocation of ownership rights along the value chain. We show that the incentive to integrate suppliers varies systematically with the relative position (upstream versus downstream) at which the supplier enters the production line. Furthermore, the nature of the relationship between integration and "downstreamness" depends crucially on the elasticity of demand faced by the final-good producer. Our model readily accommodates various sources of asymmetry across final-good producers and across suppliers within a production line, and we show how it can be taken to the data with international trade statistics. Combining data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Related Party Trade database and estimates of U.S. import demand elasticities from Broda and Weinstein (2006), we find empirical evidence broadly supportive of our key predictions. In the process, we develop two novel measures of the average position of an industry in the value chain, which we construct using U.S. Input-Output Tables.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18163.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18163

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References

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  1. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan E. Vogel & Su Wang, 2011. "An Elementary Theory of Global Supply Chains," CESifo Working Paper Series 3402, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585, May.
  3. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Papers 218, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  4. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  5. Sanyal, Kalyan K, 1983. "Vertical Specialization in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Stages of Production," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 71-78, February.
  6. Philipp Harms & Oliver Lorz & Dieter M. Urban, 2009. "Offshoring along the Production Chain," CESifo Working Paper Series 2564, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Pol Antras & Davin Chor & Thibault Fally & Russell Hillberry, 2012. "Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 412-16, May.
  8. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2010. "Putting the Parts Together: Trade, Vertical Linkages, and Business Cycle Comovement," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 95-124, April.
  9. Justin Pierce & Peter Schott, 2009. "A Concordance Between Ten-Digit U.S. Harmonized System Codes and SIC/NAICS Product Classes and Industries," Working Papers 09-41, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  10. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  11. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:376-390 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "International outsourcing and factor prices with multistage production," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C166-C185, 03.
  14. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2004. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," IMF Working Papers 04/231, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Kei-Mu Yi, 2000. "Can vertical specialization explain the growth of world trade?," Staff Reports 96, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. Eyal Winter, 2006. "Optimal incentives for sequential production processes," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 376-390, 06.
  17. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Baldwin, Richard & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2014. "Trade-in-goods and trade-in-tasks: An integrating framework," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 51-62.
  2. Philipp Harms & Jaewon Jung & Oliver Lorz, 2014. "Offshoring and Sequential Production Chains: A General-Equilibrium Analysis," Working Papers 14.01, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  3. Kalina Manova & Zhihong Yu, 2012. "Firms and Credit Constraints along the Global Value Chain: Processing Trade in China," NBER Working Papers 18561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Tomohiro MACHIKITA & Yasushi UEKI, 2013. "Who Disseminates Technology to Whom, How, and Why: Evidence from Buyer-Seller Business Networks," Working Papers DP-2013-26, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

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