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Integration vs. Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium

  • Gene Grossman
  • Elhanan Helpman

We develop an equilibrium model of industrial structure in which the organization of firms is endogenous. Differentiated consumer products can be produced either by vertically integrated firms or by pairs of specialized companies. Production of each variety of consumer good requires a unique, specialized component. Vertically integrated firms can manufacture the components they need in the quantity and type that maximizes profits, but they face a relatively high cost due to diseconomies of scope. Specialized firms can produce at lower cost, but outsourcing imposes costs due to search frictions and imperfect contracting. We study the equilibrium mode of organization when inputs are fully or partially specialized. We consider how the degree of competition in the industry, the nature of the search technology, the division of bargaining strength between intermediate and final producers, and the sensitivity of manufacturing costs to input characteristics affect the equilibrium organizational form.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 460.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_460
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  1. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Coles, Melvyn G & Smith, Eric, 1996. "Cross-Section Estimation of the Matching Function: Evidence from England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(252), pages 589-97, November.
  3. McLaren, J., 1996. "'Globalization' and Vertical Structure," Discussion Papers 1996_21, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  5. Yeats, Alexander J., 1998. "Just how big is global production sharing?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1871, The World Bank.
  6. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1995. "Organizational Diseconomies of Scale," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 399-426, Fall.
  7. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1846, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. 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.
  9. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
  10. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Scholarly Articles 12375014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Wage Determination and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 217-27, April.
  12. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The Evolving External Orientation of Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 5919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  15. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
  16. Perry, Martin K., 1989. "Vertical integration: Determinants and effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 183-255 Elsevier.
  17. Riordan, Michael H. & Williamson, Oliver E., 1985. "Asset specificity and economic organization," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 365-378, December.
  18. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  19. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  20. David Hummels & Dana Rapoport & Kei-Mu Yi, 1998. "Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 79-99.
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