IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Organizing the Global Value Chain

  • Pol Antràs
  • Davin Chor

We develop a property-rights model of the firm in which production entails a continuum of uniquely sequenced stages. In each stage, a final-good producer contracts with a distinct supplier for the procurement of a customized stage-specific component. Our model yields a sharp characterization for the optimal allocation of ownership rights along the value chain. We show that the incentive to integrate suppliers varies systematically with the relative position (upstream versus downstream) at which the supplier enters the production line. Furthermore, the nature of the relationship between integration and "downstreamness" depends crucially on the elasticity of demand faced by the final-good producer. Our model readily accommodates various sources of asymmetry across final-good producers and across suppliers within a production line, and we show how it can be taken to the data with international trade statistics. Combining data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Related Party Trade database and estimates of U.S. import demand elasticities from Broda and Weinstein (2006), we find empirical evidence broadly supportive of our key predictions. In the process, we develop two novel measures of the average position of an industry in the value chain, which we construct using U.S. Input-Output Tables.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 81 (2013)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 2127-2204

in new window

Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:81:y:2013:i:6:p:2127-2204
Contact details of provider: Phone: 1 212 998 3820
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan E. Vogel & Su Wang, 2011. "An Elementary Theory of Global Supply Chains," CESifo Working Paper Series 3402, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Papers 218, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  3. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2004. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," IMF Working Papers 04/231, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2010. "Putting the Parts Together: Trade, Vertical Linkages, and Business Cycle Comovement," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 95-124, April.
  5. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  6. Baldwin, Richard & Venables, Anthony J., 2013. "Spiders and snakes: Offshoring and agglomeration in the global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 245-254.
  7. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
  8. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
  9. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  10. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
  11. Pol Antràs & Davin Chor & Thibault Fally & Russell Hillberry, 2012. "Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows," NBER Working Papers 17819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Philipp Harms & Oliver Lorz & Dieter Urban, 2012. "Offshoring along the production chain," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(1), pages 93-106, February.
  13. Sanyal, Kalyan K, 1983. "Vertical Specialization in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Stages of Production," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 71-78, February.
  14. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
  15. Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "International outsourcing and factor prices with multistage production," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C166-C185, 03.
  16. Antràs, Pol, 2011. "Grossman-Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," CEPR Discussion Papers 8598, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2009. "A Concordance Between Ten-Digit U.S. Harmonized System Codes and SIC/NAICS Product Classes and Industries," NBER Working Papers 15548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
  20. Findlay, Ronald, 1978. "An "Austrian" Model of International Trade and Interest Rate Equalization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 989-1007, December.
  21. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  22. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:376-390 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Eyal Winter, 2006. "Optimal incentives for sequential production processes," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 376-390, 06.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:81:y:2013:i:6:p:2127-2204. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.