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Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries

  • 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)

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.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-035.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-035
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  1. Paula Bustos, 2011. "Trade Liberalization, Exports, and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinian Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 304-40, February.
  2. Nick Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2009. "Does product market competition lead firms to decentralize?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51581, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Ludema, Rodney D & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2010. "Do terms-of-trade effects matter for trade agreements? Evidence from WTO countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7695, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
  5. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2005, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Breinlich, Holger, 2006. "Trade Liberalization and Industrial Restructuring through Mergers and Acquisitions," Economics Discussion Papers 2717, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  7. Conconi, Paola & Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Organizational Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 7028, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2007. "Competing for Ownership," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-003, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  9. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, December.
  10. 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.
  11. repec:eca:wpaper:2008_025 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Harrison, Ann E. & Love, Inessa & McMillan, Margaret S., 2004. "Global capital flows and financing constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 269-301, October.
  13. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2004. "Trade, Inequality, and Poverty: What Do We Know? Evidence from Recent Trade Liberalization Episodes in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 10593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Van den Steen, Eric, 2003. "Organizational Beliefs and Managerial Vision," Working papers 4224-01, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  15. 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.
  16. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
  17. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew, 2009. "A Price Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 7211, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Pol Antràs & Robert W. Staiger, 2012. "Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3140-83, December.
  21. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
  22. Bombardini, Matilde, 2008. "Firm heterogeneity and lobby participation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 329-348, July.
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