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Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew F. Newman

    () (Boston University and CEPR)

  • Laura Alfaro

    (Harvard Business School and NBER)

  • Paola Conconi

    (Universit´e Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES) and CEPR)

  • Harald Fadinger

    (University of Vienna)

Abstract

This paper provides evidence that market conditions matter for organization design by studying how trade policy affects vertical integration. We embed an incomplete-contract model of firm boundaries into an international trade framework. Integration decisions are driven by a tradeoff between managers’ pecuniary benefits of coordinating production and their private benefits of operating in preferred ways. Integration generates more output than non-integration, but imposes a cost on managers by forcing them to accommodate to common procedures. A key implication is that higher product prices result in more integration. Since trade policy affects prices, it influences organizational decisions: higher tariffs lead to more integration; moreover, ownership structures are more alike across countries with similar levels of protection. To assess the evidence, we construct firm-level indices of vertical integration for a large set of countries from a unique dataset. Our empirical analysis, which exploits both cross-section and time-series variation in import tariffs, provides strong support for the predictions of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Newman & Laura Alfaro & Paola Conconi & Harald Fadinger, 2011. "Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-035, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-035
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eric Van den Steen, 2005. "Organizational Beliefs and Managerial Vision," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 256-283, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ferguson, Shon & Formai, Sara, 2013. "Institution-driven comparative advantage and organizational choice," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 193-200.
    2. Emanuel Ornelas & John L. Turner, 2012. "Protection and International Sourcing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 26-63, March.
    3. Conconi, Paola & Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 2012. "Trade liberalization and organizational change," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 197-208.
    4. 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.
    5. Carlo Altomonte & Armando Rungi, 2013. "Business Groups as Hierarchies of Firms: Determinants of Vertical Integration and Performance," Working Papers 2013.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. Pedro Mendi & Rafael Moner-Colonques & José Sempere-Monerris, 2011. "Vertical integration, collusion, and tariffs," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 359-378, September.
    7. Antrà s, Pol & Yeaple, Stephen R., 2014. "Multinational Firms and the Structure of International Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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