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Vertical Integration and Distance to Frontier

Author

Listed:
  • Daron Acemoglu

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology,)

  • Philippe Aghion

    (Harvard University and University College London,)

  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

    (University College London,)

Abstract

We construct a model where the equilibrium organization of firms changes as an economy approaches the world technology frontier. In vertically integrated firms, owners (managers) have to spend time both on production and innovation activities, and this creates managerial overload, and discourages innovation. Outsourcing of some production activities mitigates the managerial overload, but creates a holdup problem, causing some of the rents of the owners to be dissipated to the supplier. Far from the technology frontier, imitation activities are more important, and vertical integration is preferred. Closer to the frontier, the value of innovation increases, encouraging outsourcing. (JEL: L22, O31, O33, O38, O40, L16) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "Vertical Integration and Distance to Frontier," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 630-638, 04/05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:2-3:p:630-638
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martimort, D. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Monopolies Life Cycle, Bureaucratization and Schumpeterian Growth," DELTA Working Papers 1999-09, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    3. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, March.
    5. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1999. "Information Accumulation in Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-38, March.
    6. Patrick Francois & Joanne Roberts, 2003. "Contracting Productivity Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 59-85.
    7. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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