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An Elementary Theory of Global Supply Chains

  • Arnaud Costinot
  • Jonathan E. Vogel
  • Su Wang

This paper develops an elementary theory of global supply chains. We consider a world economy with an arbitrary number of countries, one factor of production, a continuum of intermediate goods, and one final good. Production of the final good is sequential and subject to mistakes. In the unique free trade equilibrium, countries with lower probabilities of making mistakes at all stages specialize in later stages of production. Because of the sequential nature of production, absolute productivity differences are a source of comparative advantage among nations. Using this simple theoretical framework, we offer a first look at how vertical specialization shapes the interdependence of nations.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2011/wp-cesifo-2011-03/cesifo1_wp3402.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3402.

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Date of creation: 2011
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3402
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  1. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  2. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2006. "A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 12712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Arnaud Costinot, 2009. "An Elementary Theory of Comparative Advantage," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1165-1192, 07.
  5. Baldwin, Richard & Venables, Anthony J, 2010. "Spiders and Snakes: Offshoring and Agglomeration in the Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 8163, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. David L. 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.
  10. Pol Antras & Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2067, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Pablo Fajgelbaum & Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 721-765.
  12. Monte, Ferdinando, 2009. "Skill Bias, Trade, and Wage Dispersion," MPRA Paper 14719, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-11, December.
  14. Burstein, Ariel & Kurz, Christopher & Tesar, Linda, 2008. "Trade, production sharing, and the international transmission of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 775-795, May.
  15. Pol Antràs & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Organizations and Trade," NBER Working Papers 14262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Sly, Nicholas, 2008. "Labor Matching Behavior in Open Economies and Trade Adjustment," MPRA Paper 25693, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2010.
  18. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2004. "An Assignment Theory of Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 11003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Egger, Hartmut & Falkinger, Josef, 2003. "The distributional effects of international outsourcing in a 2 x 2 production model," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 189-206, August.
  20. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
  21. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  22. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 747-786, 08.
  23. Paul R. Bergin & Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2009. "Offshoring and Volatility: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladora Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1664-71, September.
  24. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Blanchard, Emily & Willmann, Gerald, 2013. "Trade, education, and the shrinking middle class," Kiel Working Papers 1831, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  26. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2010. "External Economies and International Trade Redux," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 829-858.
  27. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
  28. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," NBER Working Papers 11458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Trade," NBER Working Papers 8712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-22, December.
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