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The Margins Of Global Sourcing: Theory And Evidence From U.S. Firms

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  • Pol Antras
  • Teresa C. Fort
  • Felix Tintlenot

Abstract

This paper studies the extensive and intensive margins of firms' global sourcing decisions. We develop a quantifiable multi-country sourcing model in which heterogeneous firms self-select into importing based on their productivity and country-specific variables. The model delivers a simple closed-form solution for firm profits as a function of the countries from which a firm imports, as well as those countries' characteristics. In contrast to canonical models of exporting in which firm profits are additively separable across exporting markets, we show that global sourcing decisions naturally interact through the firm's cost function. In particular, the marginal change in profits from adding a country to the firm's set of potential sourcing locations depends on the number and characteristics of other countries in the set. Still, under plausible parametric restrictions, selection into importing features complementarity across markets and firms' sourcing strategies follow a hierarchical structure analogous to the one predicted by exporting models. Our quantitative analysis exploits these complementarities to distinguish between a country's potential as a marginal cost-reducing source of inputs and the fixed cost associated with sourcing from this country. Counterfactual exercises suggest that a shock to the potential benefits of sourcing from a country leads to significant and heterogeneous changes in sourcing across both countries and firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Pol Antras & Teresa C. Fort & Felix Tintlenot, 2014. "The Margins Of Global Sourcing: Theory And Evidence From U.S. Firms," Working Papers 14-47, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:14-47
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • 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
    • F61 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Microeconomic Impacts
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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