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Relational contracts and global sourcing

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  • Kukharskyy, Bohdan

Abstract

Relational contracts – informal agreements sustained by the value of future relationships – are integral parts of global production processes. This paper develops a repeated-game model of global sourcing in which final good producers decide whether to engage with their suppliers in relational contracting and whether to integrate a supplier into a firm's boundaries or deal with the latter at arm's-length. The model predicts that the relative prevalence of vertical integration increases in the long-term orientation of the headquarters' and suppliers' managers. It further suggests that the share of a foreign subsidiary owned by a final good producer increases in the headquarters' long-term orientation. Combining industry-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Related Party Trade database with measures for long-term orientation from Hofstede et al. (2010) and the World Management Survey, I find empirical evidence supportive of the positive link between the long-term orientation of cooperation parties and the relative prevalence of vertical integration. Using information on managerial composition of firms and ownership stakes from the Bureau van Dijk's Orbis database, I find that firms led by long-term oriented managers own higher shares of their foreign subsidiaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Kukharskyy, Bohdan, 2016. "Relational contracts and global sourcing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 123-147.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:101:y:2016:i:c:p:123-147
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2016.04.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Defever, Fabrice & Fischer, Christian & Suedekum, Jens, 2016. "Relational contracts and supplier turnover in the global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 147-165.
    2. Eppinger, Peter S. & Kukharskyy, Bohdan, 2017. "Contracting institutions and firm boundaries," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 100, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    3. Kukharskyy, Bohdan & Pflüger, Michael P., 2018. "Time Is on My Side: Relational Contracts and Aggregate Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 11387, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Nowak, Verena, 2016. "Integration or Outsourcing: Combining Ex Ante Distortions and Ex Post Inefficiencies," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145897, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Relational contracts; Long-term orientation; International make-or-buy decision;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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