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Starting Small in an Unfamiliar Environment

  • Rauch, J E
  • Watson, Joel

Motivated by a characteristic way in which firms in developed countries make their decisions regarding cooperation with potential partners from less developed countries, we design a simple model of a DC firm's search for an LDC partner/supplier and the subsequent relationship between the two parties. Matched firms can "start small" with a trial order or pilot project of variable size in order to gain information about the ability of the LDC firm to successfully carry out a large project. We derive results relating whether and how the parties start small to the characteristics of the large project and to the matching environment. Among other results, we show how risk and search cost are associated with the propensity to start small and we establish a connection between starting small and the expected longevity of successful partnerships. We also address methods of contract enforcement and demonstrate the relationship between starting small and monitoring.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt4rp145hc.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt4rp145hc
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  1. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris & Bruno Jullien, 1991. "Optimal Learning by Experimentation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(4), pages 621-654.
  2. James E. Rauch & Joel Watson, 1999. "Starting Small in an Unfamiliar Environment," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1218, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 1996. "Experimentation in Markets," Discussion Papers 1220, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  5. Parikshit Ghosh & Debraj Ray, 1996. "Cooperation in Community Interaction Without Information Flows," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 491-519.
  6. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 1998. "Wald Revisited: The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Working papers 98-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Wouter J. Den Haan & Garey Ramey & Joel Watson, 1999. "Contract-theoretic approaches to wages and displacement," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 55-68.
  8. H. Schmitz & P. Knorringa, 2000. "Learning from Global Buyers," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 177-205.
  9. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
  10. Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 1998. "Optimal Experimentation in a Changing Environment," Game Theory and Information 9801001, EconWPA.
  11. Tewari, Meenu, 1999. "Successful Adjustment in Indian Industry: the Case of Ludhiana's Woolen Knitwear Cluster," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1651-1671, September.
  12. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Markusen, James R, 1996. "Exploring New Markets: Direct Investment, Contractual Relations and the Multinational Enterprise," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 1-19, February.
  13. Egan, Mary Lou & Mody, Ashoka, 1992. "Buyer-seller links in export development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 321-334, March.
  14. Michihiro Kandori, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80.
  15. Taylor, Curtis R & Wiggins, Steven N, 1997. "Competition or Compensation: Supplier Incentives under the American and Japanese Subcontracting Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 598-618, September.
  16. Carmichael, H Lorne & MacLeod, W Bentley, 1997. "Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(3), pages 485-509, August.
  17. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
  18. Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris, 1999. "Strategic Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 349-374, March.
  19. Joel Watson, 1999. "Starting Small and Commitment," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1217, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  20. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017.
  21. Aw, Bee Yan & Chung, Sukkyun & Roberts, Mark J, 2000. "Productivity and Turnover in the Export Market: Micro-level Evidence from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China)," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 65-90, January.
  22. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474.
  23. Nadvi, Khalid, 1999. "Collective Efficiency and Collective Failure: The Response of the Sialkot Surgical Instrument Cluster to Global Quality Pressures," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1605-1626, September.
  24. Saikat Datta, 1996. "Building Trust," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series /1996/305, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  25. repec:cep:stitep:305 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Kranton, Rachel E, 1996. "The Formation of Cooperative Relationships," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 214-33, April.
  27. Ramey Garey & Watson Joel, 2001. "Bilateral Trade and Opportunism in a Matching Market," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-35, November.
  28. Pack, Howard & Page, John Jr., 1994. "Accumulation, exports, and growth in the high-performing Asian economies," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 199-235, June.
  29. Wolfgang HÄRDLE & J. MARRON & L. YANG, 1996. "Discussion," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1996,65, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  30. Watson, Joel, 1999. "Starting Small and Renegotiation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 52-90, March.
  31. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
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