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Global Sourcing if Contracts are Reference Points

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  • Bohdan Kukharskyy

Abstract

This paper presents econometric evidence for a link between a country’s level of egalitarianism and its inward foreign direct investment. In order to provide a theoretical rationale for this relationship, I embed Hart and Moore’s (2008) novel contractual foundation into a simple model of global sourcing with culturally dissimilar countries. Entrepreneurs can cooperate with foreign suppliers under two contractual modes: rigid and flexible. If suppliers consider original contracts as reference points and future is uncertain, a fundamental tradeoff arises between these two modes. By stipulating a range of possible outcomes, a flexible contract allows for future adaptation but is associated with ex post haggling cost. By specifying a single outcome, a rigid contract eliminates future disagreement but precludes beneficial adjustments to the occurring shocks. The key message of this paper is twofold: Due to lower haggling cost, the degree of contractual flexibility is higher in egalitarian countries. If future is uncertain, these countries are more attractive for international investors than less egalitarian ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Bohdan Kukharskyy, 2012. "Global Sourcing if Contracts are Reference Points," Working Papers 129, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  • Handle: RePEc:bav:wpaper:129_kukharskyy
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    File URL: http://www.bgpe.de/texte/DP/129_Kukharskyy.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 115-138.
    2. 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.
    3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
    4. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 2010. "A Theory of Firm Scope," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 483-513.
    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 1119-1158, December.
    6. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 589-630.
    7. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "Contracts as Reference Points--Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 493-525, April.
    8. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
    9. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "How do informal agreements and renegotiation shape contractual reference points?," ECON - Working Papers 043, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    10. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
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    14. Siegel, Jordan I. & Licht, Amir N. & Schwartz, Shalom H., 2011. "Egalitarianism and international investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 621-642.
    15. Oliver Hart, 2008. "Economica Coase Lecture Reference Points and the Theory of the Firm," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 404-411, August.
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    20. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Two Remarks on the Property-Rights Literature," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 139-149.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Foreign direct investment; cross-country cultural differences; egalitarianism; risk; contracts as reference points; haggling; contractual rigidity vs. flexibility;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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