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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. "Supplier Relations and the Market Context : A Theory of Handshakes," Papers 766, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  5. Gorzig, Bernd & Andreas Stephan, 2003. "Outsourcing and Firm-level Performance," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 90, Royal Economic Society.
  6. Abraham, Katharine G & Taylor, Susan K, 1996. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 394-424, July.
  7. 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.
  8. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Bartel, Ann P. & Lach, Saul & Sicherman, Nachum, 2009. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," IZA Discussion Papers 4678, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2005, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. 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.
  13. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1965, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Eiichi Tomiura, 2005. "Foreign Outsourcing, Exporting, and FDI: A Productivity Comparison at the Firm Level," Discussion Paper Series 168, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  16. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
  17. McLaren, J., 1996. "'Globalization' and Vertical Structure," Discussion Papers 1996_21, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  18. Barbara J. Spencer & Larry D. Qiu, 2000. "Keiretsu and Relationship-Specific Investment: A Barrier to Trade?," NBER Working Papers 7572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Shy, Oz & Stenbacka, Rune, 2003. "Strategic outsourcing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 203-224, February.
  23. Görg, Holger & Hanley, Aoife, 2004. "Does Outsourcing Increase Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1372, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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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