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Outsourcing and Technological Innovations: A Firm-Level Analysis

  • Bartel, Ann P
  • Lach, Saul
  • Sicherman, Nachum

This paper presents a dynamic model that analyzes how firms’ expectations with regards to technological change influence the demand for outsourcing. We show that outsourcing becomes more beneficial to the firm when technology is changing rapidly. As the pace of innovations in production technology increases, the firm has less time to amortize the sunk costs associated with purchasing the new technologies. This makes producing in-house with the latest technologies relatively more expensive than outsourcing. The model therefore provides an explanation for the recent increases in outsourcing that have taken place in an environment of increased expectations for technological change. We test the predictions of the model using a panel dataset on Spanish firms for the period 1990 through 2002. The empirical results support the main prediction of the model, namely, that all other things equal, the demand for outsourcing increases with the probability of technological change.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6731.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6731
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  1. Görg, Holger & Hanley, Aoife & Strobl, Eric, 2007. "Productivity Effects of International Outsourcing: Evidence from Plant Level Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 6361, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Make Versus Buy in Trucking: Asset Ownership, Job Design, and Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 551-572, June.
  3. Görg, Holger & Hanley, Aoife, 2009. "Services outsourcing and innovation: An empirical investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7390, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Carmen Díaz-Mora, 2005. "DETERMINANTS OF OUTSOURCING PRODUCTION: A Dynamic Panel Data Approach for Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 05-07, Asociación Española de Economía y Finanzas Internacionales.
  5. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2005, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. Holl, Adelheid, 2008. "Production subcontracting and location," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 299-309, May.
  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. Laura Abramovsky & Rachel Griffith, 2006. "Outsourcing and Offshoring of Business Services: How Important is ICT?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 594-601, 04-05.
  10. David H. Autor, 2000. "Outsourcing at Will: Unjust Dismissal Doctrine and the Growth of Temporary Help Employment," NBER Working Papers 7557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact Of Outsourcing And High-Technology Capital On Wages: Estimates For The United States, 1979-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940, August.
  12. Elisabetta Magnani, 2006. "Technological diffusion, the diffusion of skill and the growth of outsourcing in US manufacturing," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(7), pages 617-647.
  13. Mary Amiti & Shang-Jin Wei, 2006. "Service Offshoring and Productivity: Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 11926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
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