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Keiretsu and Relationship-Specific Investment: A Barrier to Trade?

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  • Spencer, Barbara J
  • Qiu, Larry D

Abstract

This article develops a model of informal procurement within Japanese keiretsu so as to consider effects on intermediate-good imports such as auto parts. Parts-suppliers make relationship specific investments that benefit the automaker and prices are determined by bargaining after investment has been sunk. Although this investment raises efficiency, it limits the range of imports to less important parts, such as tailpipes, and it is possible that no parts are imported, despite lower foreign costs. Lack of information concerning investment rents combined with counterintuitive responses of imports to changes in output and costs could create unwarranted perceptions of a trade barrier.

Suggested Citation

  • Spencer, Barbara J & Qiu, Larry D, 2001. "Keiretsu and Relationship-Specific Investment: A Barrier to Trade?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 871-901, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:42:y:2001:i:4:p:871-901
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    14. Qiu, Larry D. & Spencer, Barbara J., 2002. "Keiretsu and relationship-specific investment: implications for market-opening trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 49-79, October.
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    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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