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The asymmetric effects of tariffs on intra-firm trade and offshoring decisions

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  • Díez, Federico J.

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of tariffs on intra-firm trade. Building on the Antràs and Helpman (2004) North–South theoretical framework, I show that higher Northern tariffs reduce the incentives for outsourcing and offshoring, while higher Southern tariffs have the opposite effects. I also show that increased offshoring and outsourcing imply a decrease in the ratio of Northern intra-firm imports to total imports, an empirically testable prediction. Using a highly disaggregated dataset of U.S. (the North) imports and relevant U.S. and foreign tariffs, I find robust evidence to support the model's predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Díez, Federico J., 2014. "The asymmetric effects of tariffs on intra-firm trade and offshoring decisions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 76-91.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:93:y:2014:i:1:p:76-91
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2013.12.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Swenson, Deborah L., 2005. "Overseas assembly and country sourcing choices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 107-130, May.
    2. 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 444-448, May.
    3. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    4. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
    5. 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.
    6. Bernard, Andrew B. & Redding, Stephen, 2010. "Intra-firm trade and product contractibility (Long Version)," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48899, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 589-630, September.
    9. Emanuel Ornelas & John L. Turner, 2012. "Protection and International Sourcing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 26-63, March.
    10. Bombardini, Matilde, 2008. "Firm heterogeneity and lobby participation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 329-348, July.
    11. Feenstra, Robert C & Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 240-245, May.
    12. James Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano, 2004. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables, and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 30-57, February.
    13. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
    14. Pol Antràs & Robert W. Staiger, 2012. "Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3140-3183, December.
    15. repec:hrv:faseco:33077829 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. 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.
    17. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    18. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, May.
    19. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-Product Versus Within-Product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 647-678.
    20. Nunn, Nathan & Trefler, Daniel, 2013. "Incomplete contracts and the boundaries of the multinational firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 330-344.
    21. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Antrà s, Pol & Yeaple, Stephen R., 2014. "Multinational Firms and the Structure of International Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    23. Ornelas, Emanuel & Turner, John L., 2008. "Trade liberalization, outsourcing, and the hold-up problem," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 225-241, January.
    24. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intra-firm trade; Offshoring; Outsourcing; Tariffs;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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