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Outsourcing Business Service and the Scope of Local Markets


  • Yukako Ono


This paper examines outsourcing to test whether productivity-enhancing specialization is facilitated in bigger cities. First, the paper provides a theoretical model which shows that greater local demand for a given input promotes the entry of suppliers into a city; the increased number of suppliers then results in lower outsourcing prices and a higher use of outsourcing by final producers, therefore reducing the final producers' production costs. I then test the predictions of the model by examining manufacturing plants' practices of outsourcing business services, by using plant-level data from the 1992 Annual Survey of Manufactures. The empirical results show that an exogenous increase in local demand promotes the entry of service suppliers and increases a firm's probability of outsourcing for white-collar services. In particular, I found that doubling the intensity of the use of a service in a U.S. county, which can be attributed to the industrial composition of the county, results in a 7% to 25% increase in the probability of outsourcing.

Suggested Citation

  • Yukako Ono, 2000. "Outsourcing Business Service and the Scope of Local Markets," Working Papers 00-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:00-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
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    3. Van Long, Ngo & Soubeyran, Antoine, 2000. "Existence and uniqueness of Cournot equilibrium: a contraction mapping approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 345-348, June.
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    5. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1991. "Entry and Competition in Concentrated Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 977-1009, October.
    6. Goodfriend, Marvin & McDermott, John, 1995. "Early Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 116-133, March.
    7. Abraham, Katharine G & Taylor, Susan K, 1996. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 394-424, July.
    8. Wagner, Alfred, 1891. "Marshall's Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
    9. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    10. Donald Siegel & Zvi Griliches, 1992. "Purchased Services, Outsourcing, Computers, and Productivity in Manufacturing," NBER Chapters,in: Output Measurement in the Service Sectors, pages 429-460 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bartel, Ann P & Lach, Saul & Sicherman, Nachum, 2005. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 5082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Urbanization and Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 24, pages 1543-1591 Elsevier.
    3. Henderson, J. Vernon, 2003. "Marshall's scale economies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-28, January.
    4. J. Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urbanization and Economic Development," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 4(2), pages 275-341, November.


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