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International trade, flexible manufacturing, and outsourcing

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  • Carsten Eckel

Abstract

This study analyzes the impact of opening up markets on the diffusion of flexible manufacturing in a general equilibrium framework. With flexible manufacturing, suppliers can service a range of downstream industries and do not have to be concerned about being held up. Instead, the vertical structure is determined by the trade-off between economies of scale in flexible manufacturing and product specificity of in-house production. The analysis derives a number of testable predictions with regard to firm size and productivity measures and shows that globalization can lead to a consolidation in upstream markets, lower real wages, and reduce welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Carsten Eckel, 2009. "International trade, flexible manufacturing, and outsourcing," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1449-1472, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:42:y:2009:i:4:p:1449-1472
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eaton, B Curtis & Schmitt, Nicolas, 1994. "Flexible Manufacturing and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 875-888, September.
    2. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
    3. Ethier, Wilfred, 1979. "Internationally decreasing costs and world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, February.
    4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    5. Tybout, James R. & Westbrook, M. Daniel, 1995. "Trade liberalization and the dimensions of efficiency change in Mexican manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 53-78, August.
    6. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
    7. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "International trade in the presence of product differentiation, economies of scale and monopolistic competition : A Chamberlin-Heckscher-Ohlin approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-340, August.
    8. Donald Gerwin, 1993. "Manufacturing Flexibility: A Strategic Perspective," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(4), pages 395-410, April.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration versus Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120.
    10. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carsten Eckel & J. Peter Neary, 2010. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 188-217.
    2. Inga Heiland & Wilhelm Kohler, 2013. "Heterogeneous Workers, Trade, and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 4387, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Luigi Pascali, 2009. "Contract Incompleteness, Globalization and Vertical Structure: an Empirical Analysis," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 727, Boston College Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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