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Intangible Assets and the Organization of Global Supply Chains

Author

Listed:
  • S. Bolatto
  • A. Naghavi
  • G. Ottaviano
  • K. Zajc Kejzar

Abstract

This paper introduces the concept of intangible assets in sequential supply chains and the importance of their appropriability in the organizational decision of firms. We focus on the quality of intellectual property rights (IPR) institutions, which on top of the hold-up problem between a supplier and the final producer entails an additional risk of imitation as technology may leak to competing producers in the market. The level of IPR enforcement in the location of a supplier can therefore play a crucial role in determining the decision of a final good producer whether to outsource or integrate a particular stage of production. The analysis is performed with Antràs and Chor (2013) in the background, where the position of the input along the supply chain, i.e. its upstreamness, and the degree of sequential complementarity of stage-specific inputs influence the organizational strategy of firms through the incentive structure of supplier investments. Our findings show that introducing intangible assets in sequential supply chain may have the opposite effect of contractibility on outsourcing decision, where only tangible property rights are considered. We argue therefore that the risk of imitation is a relevant feature that needs to be accounted for in the incomplete contract literature. Our theoretical predictions are validated on Slovenian firm-level data.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Bolatto & A. Naghavi & G. Ottaviano & K. Zajc Kejzar, 2017. "Intangible Assets and the Organization of Global Supply Chains," Working Papers wp1105, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp1105
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pol Antras & Davin Chor & Thibault Fally & Russell Hillberry, 2012. "Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 412-416, May.
    2. Elhanan Helpman & Dalia Marin & Thierry Verdier, 2008. "The Organisation of Firms in a Global Economy: Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00754767, HAL.
    3. Enghin Atalay & Ali Horta?su & Chad Syverson, 2014. "Vertical Integration and Input Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(4), pages 1120-1148, April.
    4. Eppinger, Peter S. & Kukharskyy, Bohdan, 2017. "Contracting institutions and firm boundaries," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 100, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alquist, Ron & Berman, Nicolas & Mukherjee, Rahul & Tesar, Linda L., 2019. "Financial constraints, institutions, and foreign ownership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 63-83.
    2. Biancini, Sara & Bombarda, Pamela, 2021. "Intellectual property rights, multinational firms and technology transfers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 191-210.
    3. Fatten Gazzah & Jean Bonnet & Sana El Harbi, 2017. "Exploring the Relationship between Micro-Enterprises and Regional Development: Evidence from Tunisia," Post-Print halshs-01910346, HAL.
    4. Gaoju Yang & Yilu Zhang & Xiao Yu, 2020. "Intellectual property rights and the upgrading of the global value chain status," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 185-204, May.
    5. Bacchetta, Marc & Bekkers, Eddy & Piermartini, Roberta & Rubinova, Stela & Stolzenburg, Victor & Xu, Ankai, 2021. "COVID-19 and global value chains: A discussion of arguments on value chain organization and the role of the WTO," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2021-3, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    6. Charlie Joyez, 2018. "Interaction between firm-level and host-country characteristics and multinationals' integration choices," Working Papers DT/2018/03, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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