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The Margins of Global Sourcing: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Firms

Listed author(s):
  • Antràs, Pol
  • Fort, Teresa C
  • Tintelnot, Felix

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10310.

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Date of creation: Dec 2014
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10310
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  1. Peter Arendorf Bache & Anders Laugesen, 2013. "Monotone Comparative Statics for the Industry Composition," Economics Working Papers 2013-10, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  2. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
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  4. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, September.
  5. Ryan Monarch, 2014. ""It's Not You, It's Me": Breakup In U.S.-China Trade Relationships," Working Papers 14-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  13. Marcela Eslava & James Tybout & David Jinkins & C. Krizan & Jonathan Eaton, 2015. "A Search and Learning Model of Export Dynamics," 2015 Meeting Papers 1535, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
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  17. 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.
  18. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
  19. Feenstra, Robert C. & Jensen, J. Bradford, 2012. "Evaluating estimates of materials offshoring from US manufacturing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 170-173.
  20. Stefania Garetto, 2013. "Input Sourcing and Multinational Production," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 118-151, April.
  21. Panle Jia, 2008. "What Happens When Wal-Mart Comes to Town: An Empirical Analysis of the Discount Retailing Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1263-1316, November.
  22. Bernardo S. Blum & Sebastian Claro & Ignatius Horstmann, 2010. "Facts and Figures on Intermediated Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 419-423, May.
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