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The determinants of intrafirm trade: Evidence from French firms

  • Corcos, G.
  • Irac, D.
  • Mion, G.
  • Verdier, T.

How well does the theory of the firm explain the choice between intrafirm and arms' length trade? This paper uses firm-level import data from France to look into this question. We find support for three key predictions of property-rights theories of the multinational firm. Intrafirm imports are more likely: (i) in capital- and skill-intensive firms; (ii) in highly productive firms; (iii) from countries with well-functioning judicial institutions. We further bridge previous aggregate findings with our investigation by decomposing intrafirm imports into an extensive and intensive margin. Doing so we uncover interesting patterns in the data that require further theoretical investigation.

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Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 362.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:362
Contact details of provider: Postal: Banque de France 31 Rue Croix des Petits Champs LABOLOG - 49-1404 75049 PARIS
Web page: http://www.banque-france.fr/
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  1. Ethier, W.J. & Markusen, J.R., 1993. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," ISER Discussion Paper 0303, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  2. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret Slade, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 629-685, September.
  3. Pol Antràs & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Organizations and Trade," NBER Working Papers 14262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding, 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.
  5. Ignatius Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1987. "Licensing versus Direct Investment: A Model of Internalization by the Multinational Enterprise," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(3), pages 464-81, August.
  6. Fabrice Defever & Farid Toubal, 2007. "Productivity and the Sourcing Modes of Multinational Firms: Evidence from French Firm-Level Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp0842, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600, 05.
  8. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Carluccio, J. & Fally, T., 2011. "Global Sourcing under Imperfect Capital Markets," Working papers 312, Banque de France.
  10. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
  11. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  12. Wilhelm Kohler & Marcel Smolka, 2009. "Global Sourcing Decisions and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 2903, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Ranjan, Priya & Tobias, Justin, 2007. "Bayesian Inference in the Gravity Model," Staff General Research Papers 12721, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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