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Trade Liberalization and Organizational Choice

Author

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  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Conconi & Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Organizational Choice," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-172, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-172
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    13. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuel Ornelas & John L. Turner, 2012. "Protection and International Sourcing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 26-63, March.
    2. Ana Fernandes & Heiwai Tang, 2010. "The Determinants of Vertical Integration in Export Processing: Theory and Evidence from China," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0749, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    3. Pol Antràs, 2014. "Grossman–Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(suppl_1), pages 118-175.
    4. Guadalupe, Maria & Wulf, Julie, 2009. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 7253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Alfaro, Laura & Conconi, Paola & Fadinger, Harald & Newman, Andrew, 2010. "Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7899, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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