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Contractual Frictions and Global Sourcing

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  • Antras, Pol
  • Helpman, Elhanan

Abstract

We generalize the Antràs and Helpman (2004) model of the international organization of production in order to accommodate varying degrees of contractual frictions. In particular, we allow the degree of contractibility to vary across inputs and countries. A continuum of firms with heterogeneous productivities decide whether to integrate or outsource the production of intermediate inputs, and from which country to source them. Final-good producers and their suppliers make relationship-specific investments which are only partially contractible, both in an integrated firm and in an arm’s-length relationship. We describe equilibria in which firms with different productivity levels choose different ownership structures and supplier locations, and then study the effects of changes in the quality of contractual institutions on the relative prevalence of these organizational forms. Better contracting institutions in the South raise the prevalence of offshoring, but may reduce the relative prevalence of FDI or foreign outsourcing. The impact on the composition of offshoring depends on whether the institutional improvement affects disproportionately the contractibility of a particular input. A key message of the paper is that improvements in the contractibility of inputs controlled by final-good producers have different effects than improvements in the contractibility of inputs controlled by suppliers.

Suggested Citation

  • Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Contractual Frictions and Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 6033, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rosario Crinò, 2007. "Offshoring, Multinationals and Labor Market: A Review of the Empirical Literature," KITeS Working Papers 196, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jan 2007.
    2. Ryuhei Wakasugi & Banri Ito & Eiichi Tomiura, 2008. "Offshoring and Trade in East Asia: A Statistical Analysis," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 7(3), pages 101-124, Fall.
    3. Goswami, Arti Grover, 2013. "Vertical FDI versus outsourcing: The role of technology transfer costs," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-21.
    4. Francisco Carballo-Cruz, 2012. "New Patterns in Global Localization: Delocalization and Relocalization of Economic Activities," Chapters,in: Globalization Trends and Regional Development, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Loredana Fattorini & Armando Rungi & Zhen Zhu, 2017. "The Organization of Global Supply Networks," Working Papers 08/2017, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Nov 2017.
    6. Anna M. Falzoni & Lucia Tajoli, 2011. "Offshoring and the Skill Composition of Employment in the Italian Manufacturing Industries," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 121-153, January-M.
    7. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2009. "Foreign versus domestic outsourcing: Firm-level evidence on the role of technology," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 219-226, March.
    8. Tarun Kabiraj & Uday Bhanu Sinha, 2011. "Strategic Outsourcing with Technology Transfer," Working papers 203, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    9. Marcella Nicolini, 2007. "Institutions and Offshoring Decision," CESifo Working Paper Series 2074, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. de Matías Batalla, David, 2016. "The new paradigm of international production: Empirical evidence of Spanish offshoring activities," Economics Discussion Papers 2016-37, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    11. Hein Roelfsema & Yi Zhang, 2012. "The causal effect of institutional quality on outsourcing," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(6), pages 895-920, January.
    12. Li, Ben & Lu, Yi, 2009. "Geographic concentration and vertical disintegration: Evidence from China," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 294-304, May.
    13. TOMIURA Eiichi, 2007. "Global Sourcing, Technology, and Factor Intensity: Firm-level Relationships," Discussion papers 07024, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. Patrik Karpaty & Patrik Tingvall, 2015. "Service Offshoring and Corruption: Do Firms Escape Corrupt Countries?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 363-381, December.
    15. Wilhelm Kohler, 2007. "The Bazaar Effect, Unbundling of Comparative Advantage, and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 1932, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contractual frictions; FDI; sourcing; trade;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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