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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
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3402
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  1. Ariel Burstein & Christopher Johann Kurz & Linda Tesar, 2004. "Trade, Production Sharing and the International Transmission of Business Cycles," Working Papers 522, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Philipp Harms & Oliver Lorz & Dieter M. Urban, 2009. "Offshoring along the Production Chain," CESifo Working Paper Series 2564, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban & Garicano, Luis & Antras, Pol, 2006. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," Scholarly Articles 3196323, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  8. David K Levine, 2010. "Production Chains," Levine's Working Paper Archive 659843000000000001, David K. Levine.
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  12. 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.
  13. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Offshoring: General Equilibrium Effects on Wages, Production and Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0794, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  14. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2009. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," NBER Working Papers 14672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "External Economies and International Trade Redux," NBER Working Papers 14425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Arndt, Sven W., 1997. "Globalization and the open economy," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 71-79.
  18. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435.
  19. Monte, Ferdinando, 2011. "Skill bias, trade, and wage dispersion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 202-218, March.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2006. "A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 12712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Sly, Nicholas, 2008. "Labor Matching Behavior in Open Economies and Trade Adjustment," MPRA Paper 25693, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2010.
  28. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
  29. Fajgelbaum, Pablo & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2011. "Income distribution, product quality, and international trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5843, The World Bank.
  30. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
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