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Outsourcing and Innovation: An Empirical Study of Causes and Effects

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  • Sasan Bakhtiari

    ()
    (The University of New South Wales)

  • Robert Breunig

    ()
    (Australian National University)

Abstract

We study the implications of vertical integration on innovation performance using firm-level data on Australian manufacturing. We use the data to distinguish between low-cost-oriented and innovation-oriented outsourcing. Outsourcing without innovation lowers costs at the expense of damaging the future chances of innovation, while innovation-oriented outsourcing leads to higher costs but increases the likelihood of future innovation. For firms that innovate and outsource, the probability of future innovation is 54 per cent compared to 15 per cent for those who outsource without innovating. Comparing across firms that innovate, simultaneously outsourcing increases the probability of future innovation by 4 per cent. Innovation-oriented outsourcing is accompanied by firms shifting focus to research and marketing of new products. Our results offer strong support that outsourcing may be used not just as a cost-cutting strategy, but as part of comprehensive firm strategy to innovate and improve.

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File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2012-35.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, The University of New South Wales in its series Discussion Papers with number 2012-35.

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Length: 24pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2012-35

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Keywords: Outsourcing; Innovation; Firm Performance; Business Strategy.;

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  1. Robert Breunig & Marn-Heong Wong, 2007. "A Richer Understanding of Australia’s Productivity Performance in the 1990s: Improved estimates based upon firm-level panel data," CEPR Discussion Papers 545, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2010. "Global engagement and the innovation activities of firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 191-202, March.
  3. Arindrajit Dube & Ethan Kaplan, 2010. "Does Outsourcing Reduce Wages in the Low-Wage Service Occupations? Evidence from Janitors and Guards," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 287-306, January.
  4. Leslie E. Papke & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1993. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(k) Plan Participation Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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