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How Much to Make and How Much to Buy: Explaining Plural Sourcing Strategies

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  • Sourav Bhattacharya
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    Abstract

    While many theories of the firm seek to explain when firms make rather than buy, in practice firms often make and buy the same input- they engage in plural sourcing. We argue that explaining the mix of external procurement and internal sourcing for the same input requires a consideration of complementarities across and constraints within modes of procurement. We create analytical foundations for making empirical predictions about when plural sourcing is likely to be optimal and why the optimal mix of internal and external sourcing may vary across situations. Our framework also proves useful for assessing the possible estimation biases in transaction level make-or-buy studies arising from ignoring complementarities and constraints.

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    File URL: http://www.ewi-ssl.pitt.edu/econ/files/faculty/wp/120207_wp_BhattacharyaSourav_MakeorBuy.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 353.

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    Date of creation: May 2008
    Date of revision: May 2008
    Publication status: Forthcoming in Stragetic Management Journal
    Handle: RePEc:pit:wpaper:353

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    1. Hennart, J.M.A., 2001. "Explaining the swollen middle: Why most transactions are a mix of market and hierarchy," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-87538, Tilburg University.
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    4. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "Complementarities and fit strategy, structure, and organizational change in manufacturing," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-208, April.
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    6. Roberto A. Weber & Colin F. Camerer, 2003. "Cultural Conflict and Merger Failure: An Experimental Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 400-415, April.
    7. Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2002. "Misperceiving Interactions Among Complements and Substitutes: Organizational Consequences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(7), pages 900-916, July.
    8. Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret E, 1997. "Retail Contracting: Theory and Practice," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 1-25, March.
    9. Barzel, Yoram, 1982. "Measurement Cost and the Organization of Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 27-48, April.
    10. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
    11. Demsetz, Harold, 1988. "The Theory of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 141-61, Spring.
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