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Trade Liberalization and Organizational Choice

  • Paola Conconi

    ()

    (Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES) and CEPR)

  • Patrick Legros

    ()

    (Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES) and CEPR)

  • Andrew F. Newman

    ()

    (Boston University and CEPR)

We embed a simple incomplete-contracts model of organization design in a standard two-country, perfectly-competitive trade model to examine how the liberalization of product and factor markets affects the ownership structure of firms. In our model, managers decide whether or not to integrate their firms, trading off the pecuniary benefits of coordinating production decisions with the private benefits of operating in their preferred ways. The price of output is a crucial determinant of this choice, since it affects the size of the pecuniary benefits. In particular, non-integration is chosen at "low" and "high" prices, while integration occurs only at moderate prices. Organizational choices also depend on the terms of trade in supplier markets, which affect the division of surplus between managers. We obtain three main results. First, joint product and factor market integration leads to the convergence of organization design across countries. Second, even in the absence of factor movements, the price changes triggered by liberalization of product markets can lead to significant organizational restructuring within countries. Third, the removal of barriers to factor mobility can induce further organizational changes, sometimes adversely affecting consumers, which suggests a potential complementarity between trade policy and corporate governance policy.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series with number dp-172.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-172
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  1. Patrick Legros & Andrew Newman, 1996. "Wealth effects, distribution, and the theory of organization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7036, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
  5. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Power Inside the Firm and the Market: a General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 3526, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
  7. Holger Breinlich, 2006. "Trade Liberalization and Industrial Restructuring through Mergers and Acquisitions," Economics Discussion Papers 619, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  8. Elhanan Helpman & Gene M. Grossman, 2002. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," NBER Working Papers 9403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. McLaren, J., 1996. "'Globalization' and Vertical Structure," Discussion Papers 1996_21, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  10. Pol Antràs & Robert W. Staiger, 2008. "Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 14285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2008. "Power inside the firm and the market: A general equilibrium approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19255, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
  14. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  15. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Ornelas, Emanuel & Turner, John L., 2008. "Trade liberalization, outsourcing, and the hold-up problem," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 225-241, January.
  17. Maria Guadalupe & Julie Wulf, 2008. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 14491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Guadalupe, Maria & Wulf, Julie, 2009. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 7253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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