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Aspects of International Fragmentation

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  • Wilhelm Kohler

Abstract

The paper uses a specific-factors framework to address efficiency and distributional implications of international fragmentation which is driven by a low foreign wage rate. Focusing on the cost-savings linkage between fragmentation and labor demand in the remaining domestic activities, the author establishes a fragmentation surplus. If capital is an indivisible asset specific to the fragment produced abroad, then fragmentation may cause a domestic welfare loss, because outsourcing takes place in discrete steps where it affords firms "quasi-market-power" on the domestic labor market. The regime shift from domestic production to fragmentation is modeled as a two-stage game. In stage one, firms locate indivisible assets at home or abroad; in stage two they choose optimal employment. The share of fragmented firms is endogenously determined. The paper explores conditions under which outsourcing is beneficial for the domestic economy. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004..

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  • Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "Aspects of International Fragmentation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 793-816, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:12:y:2004:i:5:p:793-816
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078.
    2. Ronald W. Jones, 2000. "Globalization and the Theory of Input Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026210086x.
    3. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 57.
    4. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
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