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Viewpoint: Empirical research on firms' boundaries


  • Thomas N. Hubbard


Empirical research on the determinants of firms' boundaries has flourished over the past 25 years. This article discusses the progress that has been made to date, emphasizing the intellectual advances made by researchers in this literature during this period. I stress empirical researchers' important role in operationalizing theoretical concepts and relate how success on this dimension brings these concepts to bear on real-life, make-or-buy decisions. I also discuss shortcomings in the current literature - in particular the paucity of research on how variation in firms' boundaries can affect economic outcomes - and point to how and where such shortcomings might be overcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas N. Hubbard, 2008. "Viewpoint: Empirical research on firms' boundaries," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 341-359, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:41:y:2008:i:2:p:341-359

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jonathan E. Haskel & Sonia C. Pereira & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Does Inward Foreign Direct Investment Boost the Productivity of Domestic Firms?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 482-496, August.
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    6. Theodore H. Moran, 2001. "Parental Supervision: The New Paradigm for Foreign Direct Investment and Development," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa64, October.
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    8. Sourafel Girma & Holger Görg, 2007. "Multinationals' Productivity Advantage: Scale Or Technology?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(2), pages 350-362, April.
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    10. Sourafel Girma, 2005. "Absorptive Capacity and Productivity Spillovers from FDI: A Threshold Regression Analysis," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(3), pages 281-306, June.
    11. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-1297, November.
    12. Beata Smarzynska Javorcik, 2004. "Does Foreign Direct Investment Increase the Productivity of Domestic Firms? In Search of Spillovers Through Backward Linkages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 605-627, June.
    13. Lipsey, Robert & Sjöholm, Fredrik, 2004. "Host Country Impacts Of Inward Fdi: Why Such Different Answers?," EIJS Working Paper Series 192, Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
    14. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
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    18. Ari Kokko & Mario Zejan & Ruben Tansini, 2001. "Trade regimes and spillover effects of FDI: Evidence from Uruguay," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 137(1), pages 124-149, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ann Bartel & Saul Lach & Nachum Sicherman, 2005. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 11158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Debaere, Peter & Evans, Richard B., 2015. "Outsourcing vs. Integration in the Mutual Fund Industry: An Incomplete Contracting Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 10599, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Daniel P. Miller, 2014. "Subcontracting and competitive bidding on incomplete procurement contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(4), pages 705-746, December.
    4. Dildar Hussain & Josef Windsperger, 2013. "A property rights view of multi-unit franchising," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 169-185, April.
    5. Cheng, Kuangnen & Lee, Zu-Hsu & Shomali, Hamid, 2012. "Airline firm boundary and ticket distribution in electronic markets," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 137-144.
    6. Josef Windsperger, 2013. "The governance of franchising networks," Chapters,in: Handbook of Economic Organization, chapter 27 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Sharon Horsky & Steven C. Michael & Alvin J. Silk, 2008. "The Internalization of Advertising Services: An Inter-IndustryAnalysis," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-007, Harvard Business School.
    8. Horsky Sharon & Michael Steven C. & Silk Alvin J., 2012. "The Internalization of Advertising Services: An Inter-Industry Analysis," Review of Marketing Science, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-35, October.

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