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The Role of Technological Complexity and Absorptive Capacity in Internalization Decision

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  • Arti

    (Delhi School of Economics)

Abstract

Technology transfer costs have a profound influence on the firm’s entry mode into a production sharing relationship. To explore this nexus, we associate technological complexity of the off-shored input with the organizational mode of international production sharing by extending the Antràs (2005) model. We modify the Antràs model by proposing that the low-tech input, as qualified within the model, cannot be produced in the low wage south without costly technology transfer. The cost of technology transfer in turn depends on three factors, which are the technological complexity of this input, the absorptive capacity of the host country and the wages of the host country. Our model refines the results obtained in Antràs (2005). We find that 1. For high-tech goods, intra-firm transfer is preferred vis-à-vis outsourcing only for intermediate range of technological complexity of the off-shored input, 2. On the other hand, for low-tech goods, where the likelihood of outsourcing is higher in Antràs, intra-firm offshore contract is still possible for low range of technological complexity. Our model has policy suggestions for host countries which aspire to maximize their benefits from the exploding global production phenomenon. As the wage gap between the source and the host country falls, cost considerations for offshoring disappear. New sources of comparative advantage should therefore be created in the host country by subsidizing technology investment and higher education to build higher absorptive capacity.

Suggested Citation

  • Arti, 2007. "The Role of Technological Complexity and Absorptive Capacity in Internalization Decision," Working papers 153, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:153
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Bergin & Robert Feenstra, 2006. "Outsourcing and Volatility," Working Papers 628, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    2. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, March.
    4. Robert C. Feenstra & Gene M. Grossman & Douglas A. Irwin (ed.), 1996. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy: Papers in Honor of Jagdish Bhagwati," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061864, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alireza Naghavi & Julia Spies & Farid Toubal, 2011. "International Sourcing, Product Complexity and Intellectual Property Rights," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 067, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    2. Alireza Naghavi & Julia Spies & Farid Toubal, 2013. "IPR, Product Complexity and the Organization of Multinational Firms," Working Papers 2013-31, CEPII research center.
    3. Alireza Naghavi & Julia Spies & Farid Toubal, 2015. "Intellectual property rights, product complexity and the organization of multinational firms," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(3), pages 881-902, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Outsourcing; Foreign Direct Investment; Technology Transfer; Absorptive Capacity.;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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