IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Global sourcing of complex production processes

  • Schwarz, Christian
  • Suedekum, Jens

We develop a theory of a firm in an incomplete contracts environment which decides on the complexity, the organization, and the global scale of its production process. Specifically, the firm decides i) how many intermediate inputs are simultaneously combined to a final product, ii) if the supplier of each input is an external contractor or an integrated affiliate, and iii) if that input is offshored to a foreign country. Our model leads to a rich set of predictions on the internal structure of multinational firms. In particular, it provides an explanation why many firms choose hybrid sourcing and have both outsourced and integrated suppliers.

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: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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 Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 123-139

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:93:y:2014:i:1:p:123-139
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2013.12.006
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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. Corcos, Gregory & Irac, Delphine & Mion, Giordano & Verdier, Thierry, 2009. "The Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7530, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," NBER Working Papers 12091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Altomonte, Carlo & Rungi, Armando, 2013. "Business groups as hierarchies of firms: determinants of vertical integration and performance," Working Paper Series 1554, European Central Bank.
  4. Defever, Fabrice & Toubal, Farid, 2013. "Productivity, relationship-specific inputs and the sourcing modes of multinationals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 345-357.
  5. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  6. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman & Adam Szeidl, 2005. "Complementarities between Outsourcing and Foreign Sourcing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 19-24, May.
  7. Su Wang & Jonathan Vogel & Arnaud Costinot, 2011. "An Elementary Theory of Global Supply Chains," 2011 Meeting Papers 95, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Du, Julan & Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2009. "Bi-sourcing in the global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 215-222, April.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 729-761.
  10. Eiichi Tomiura, 2005. "Foreign Outsourcing, Exporting, and FDI: A Productivity Comparison at the Firm Level," Discussion Paper Series 168, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  11. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton, 2007. "Intra-industry foreign direct investment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19690, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Pol Antras & Davin Chor, 2012. "Organizing the Global Value Chain," Working Papers 25-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  16. Verena Nowak & Christian Schwarz & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "On the Organizational Structure of Multinational Firms - Which Sourcing Mode for which Input?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3823, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban & Antras, Pol, 2009. "Organizations and Trade," Scholarly Articles 3199064, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Intrafirm Trade and Product Contractibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 444-48, May.
  19. Acemoglu, Daron & Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," Scholarly Articles 3199063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. José C. Fariñas & Ana Martín-Marcos, 2010. "Foreign Sourcing and Productivity: Evidence at the Firm Level," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 482-506, 03.
  21. Liza Jabbour, . "“Slicing the Value Chain” Internationally: Empirical Evidence on the Offshoring Strategy by French Firms," Discussion Papers 08/02, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  22. Fabrice Defever & Farid Toubal, 2007. "Productivity and the sourcing modes of multinational firms: evidence from French firm-level data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19655, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  23. Stephen Ross Yeaple, 2006. "Offshoring, Foreign Direct Investment, and the Structure of U.S. Trade," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 602-611, 04-05.
  24. Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 3196327, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  25. Stefano Federico, 2010. "Outsourcing versus integration at home or abroad and firm heterogeneity," Empirica, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 47-63, February.
  26. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2012. "The Empirics of Firm Heterogeneity and International Trade," Working Papers 12-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  27. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  28. Baldwin, Richard, 2009. "Integration of the North American economy and new-paradigm globalisation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7523, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. Richard Baldwin & Anthony Venables, 2010. "Spiders and snakes: offshoring and agglomeration in the global economy," NBER Working Papers 16611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," NBER Working Papers 9740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Lijun ZHANG, 2011. "Global sourcing of a complex good," Working Papers Department of Economics ces11.26, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  32. Wilhelm Kohler & Marcel Smolka, 2009. "Global Sourcing Decisions and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 2903, CESifo Group Munich.
  33. Stefano Federico, 2010. "Outsourcing versus Integration at Home or Abroad," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 742, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  34. 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.
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:eee:inecon:v:93:y:2014:i:1:p:123-139. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)

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.