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Greasing the Wheels of International Commerce: How Services Facilitate Firms' International Sourcing

  • Peter Debaere
  • Holger Görg
  • Horst Raff

We use unique plant-level data to study the link between the local availability of services and the decision of manufacturing firms to source materials from abroad. To guide our empirical analysis we develop a monopolistic-competition model of the materials sourcing decisions of heterogeneous firms. The model generates predictions about how the intensity of international sourcing of materials depends on a firm’s productivity and the availability of local services. These predictions are supported by the data. We find evidence that more productive manufacturing firms tend to have a higher ratio of imported materials to sales. In addition, we find evidence that services grease the wheels of international commerce: A greater availability of services across regions, industries and time increases a firm’s foreign sourcing of materials relative to sales. Interestingly, this positive impact of local service availability on imports especially applies to stand-alone firms that, unlike multinationals, are less likely to rely on imported or internally provided services.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-02/cesifo1_wp2941.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2941.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2941
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  1. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
  2. Girma, Sourafel & Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2004. "Exports, international investment, and plant performance: evidence from a non-parametric test," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 317-324, June.
  3. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  4. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2011. "International trade in services: A portrait of importers and exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 188-206, July.
  5. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," RCER Working Papers 532, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Van Long, Ngo & Riezman, Raymond & Soubeyran, Antoine, 2005. "Fragmentation and services," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 137-152, March.
  7. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," NBER Working Papers 12091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Deardorff, Alan V, 2001. "International Provision of Trade Services, Trade, and Fragmentation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 233-48, May.
  9. Horst Raff & Nicolas Schmitt, 2009. "Imports, Pass-Through, and the Structure of Retail Markets," Kiel Working Papers 1556, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  10. Ann E. Harrison & Brian J. Aitken, 1999. "Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Direct Foreign Investment? Evidence from Venezuela," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 605-618, June.
  11. Joseph F. Francois, 1990. "Trade in Producer Services and Returns Due to Specialization under Monopolistic Competition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(1), pages 109-24, February.
  12. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  14. David Hummels & Jun Ishii & Kei-Mu Yi, 1999. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Staff Reports 72, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  15. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 63-88.
  17. Robert Feenstra, 2003. "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Working Papers 986, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  18. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 63-88.
  19. Stephen S. Golub, Ronald W. Jones, Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," IHEID Working Papers 05-2007, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
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