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Vertical Integration and Distance to Frontier

Author

Listed:
  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Aghion, Philippe
  • Zilibotti, Fabrizio

Abstract

We construct a model where the equilibrium organization of firms changes as an economy approaches the world technology frontier. In vertically integrated firms, owners (managers) have to spend time both on production and innovation activities, and this creates managerial overload, and discourages innovation. Outsourcing of some production activities mitigates the managerial overload, but creates a holdup problem, causing some of the rents of the owners to be dissipated to the supplier. Far from the technology frontier, imitation activities are more important, and vertical integration is preferred. Closer to the frontier, the value of innovation increases, encouraging outsourcing.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2002. "Vertical Integration and Distance to Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 3565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3565
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1999. "Information Accumulation in Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-38, March.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    3. Martimort, D. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Monopolies Life Cycle, Bureaucratization and Schumpeterian Growth," DELTA Working Papers 1999-09, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, March.
    6. Patrick Francois & Joanne Roberts, 2003. "Contracting Productivity Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 59-85.
    7. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration versus Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contracts; economic growth; internal organization of the firm; vertical integration;

    JEL classification:

    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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