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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..

Suggested Citation

  • 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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