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Greasing the Wheels of International Commerce: How Services Facilitate Firms’ International Sourcing

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  • Peter Debaere
  • Holger Görg
  • Horst Raff

Abstract

We use unique plant-level data to study the link between the local availability of services and the decision of manufacturing firms to source materials from abroad. To guide our empirical analysis we develop a monopolistic competition model of the materials sourcing decisions of heterogeneous firms. The model generates predictions about how the intensity of international sourcing of materials depends on a firm’s productivity and the availability of local services. These predictions are supported by the data. We find evidence that more productive manufacturing firms tend to have a higher ratio of imported materials to sales. In addition, we find evidence that services grease the wheels of international commerce: A greater availability of services across regions, industries and time increases a firm’s foreign sourcing of materials relative to sales. Interestingly, this positive impact of local service availability on imports especially applies to stand-alone firms that, unlike multinationals, are less likely to rely on imported or internally provided services.

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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, GEP in its series Discussion Papers with number 10/01.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:10/01

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Keywords: international trade; services; off-shoring; supply chain management; firm heterogeneity.;

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References

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  1. Sourafel Girma & Holger Görg & Eric Strobl, 2003. "Exports, International Investment, and Plant Performance: Evidence from a Non-Parametric Test," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 379, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Helpman, Elhanan, 2006. "Trade, FDI and the Organization of Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2010. "International Trade in Services: A Portrait of Importers and Exporters," CEPR Discussion Papers 7837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Robert Feenstra, 2003. "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Working Papers 986, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 63-88.
  7. 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.
  8. Deardorff, Alan V., 2001. "International provision of trade services, trade, and fragmentation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2548, The World Bank.
  9. Kei-Mu Yi, 2000. "Can vertical specialization explain the growth of world trade?," Staff Reports 96, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Stephen S. Golub, Ronald W. Jones, Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," IHEID Working Papers 05-2007, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  11. Horst Raff & Nicolas Schmitt, 2009. "Imports, Pass-Through, and the Structure of Retail Markets," Kiel Working Papers 1556, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  12. Van Long, Ngo & Riezman, Raymond & Soubeyran, Antoine, 2005. "Fragmentation and services," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 137-152, March.
  13. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," RCER Working Papers 532, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  14. Ann E. Harrison & Brian J. Aitken, 1999. "Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Direct Foreign Investment? Evidence from Venezuela," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 605-618, June.
  15. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Joseph F. Francois, 1990. "Trade in Producer Services and Returns Due to Specialization under Monopolistic Competition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(1), pages 109-24, February.
  17. 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.
  18. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 63-88.
  19. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Horst Raff & Natalia Trofimenko, 2013. "World Market Access of Emerging-Market Firms: the Role of Foreign Ownership and Access to External Finance," Kiel Working Papers 1848, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Bianka Dettmer, 2012. "Business services outsourcing and economic growth: Evidence from a dynamic panel data approach," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-049, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. João Amador & Sónia Cabral, 2014. "Global Value Chains: Surveying Drivers, Measures and Impacts," Working Papers w201403, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.

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