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Economising, Strategising and the Decision to Outsource

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  • Dermot Leahy
  • Catia Montagna

Abstract

We study the make-or-buy decision of oligopolistic firms in an industry in which final good production requires specialised inputs. Firms’ mode of operation decision depends on both the incentive to economize on costs and on strategic considerations. We explore the strategic incentives to outsource and show that asymmetric equilibria emerge, with firms choosing different modes of operation, even when they are ex-ante identical. With ex-ante asymmetries, higher cost firms are more likely to outsource. We apply our model to a number of different international trading setups.

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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, GEP in its series Discussion Papers with number 11/17.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:11/17

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Keywords: Outsourcing; Vertical Integration; Trade Liberalisation; Oligopoly;

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  1. McLaren, J., 1996. "'Globalization' and Vertical Structure," Discussion Papers 1996_21, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret Slade, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 629-685, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Helpman, Elhanan & Antras, Pol, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 4784029, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Holger Görg & Aoife Hanley, 2004. "Does Outsourcing Increase Profitability?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 35(3), pages 267-288.
  6. Gorzig, Bernd & Andreas Stephan, 2003. "Outsourcing and Firm-level Performance," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 90, Royal Economic Society.
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  8. 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.
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  10. Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "On the Transaction Cost Determinants of Vertical Integration," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-23, April.
  11. McLaren, John, 1999. "Supplier relations and the market context: A theory of handshakes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 121-138, June.
  12. Keith Head & John Ries & Barbara J. Spencer, 2004. "Vertical Networks and US Auto Parts Exports: Is Japan Different?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 37-67, 03.
  13. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
  14. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
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  16. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Yongmin Chen & Jota Ishikawa & Zhihao Yu, 2002. "Trade Liberalization and Strategic Outsourcing," Carleton Economic Papers 02-12, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2004.
  18. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan K. Taylor, 1993. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Shy, Oz & Stenbacka, Rune, 2003. "Strategic outsourcing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 203-224, February.
  20. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2004. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 10198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Nickerson, Jack A. & Vanden Bergh, Richard, 1999. "Economizing in a context of strategizing: governance mode choice in Cournot competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-15, September.
  22. Robert C. Feenstra & Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "Contractual Versus Generic Outsourcing: The Role of Proximity," NBER Working Papers 11885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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