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Outsourcing in a Global Economy

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  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Elhanan Helpman

Abstract

We study the determinants of the location of subcontracted activity in a general equilibrium model of outsourcing and trade. We model outsourcing as an activity that requires search for a partner and relationship-specific investments that are governed by incomplete contracts. The extent of international outsourcing depends inter alia on the thickness of the domestic and foreign market for input suppliers, the relative cost of searching in each market, the relative cost of customizing inputs and the nature of the contracting environment in each country. Copyright 2005, Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 135-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:72:y:2005:i:1:p:135-159
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/0034-6527.00327
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 1119-1158, December.
    2. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
    3. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2000. "Information and Globalization: Wage Co-Movements, Labor Demand Elasticity, and Conventional Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 7671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Managerial incentives and the international organization of production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 237-262, July.
    5. Abraham, Katharine G & Taylor, Susan K, 1996. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 394-424, July.
    6. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    7. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
    8. Helper, Susan, 1991. "Strategy and Irreversibility in Supplier Relations: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 781-824, December.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration versus Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120.
    10. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82.
    11. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The Evolving External Orientation of Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 5919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • 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
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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