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Factoryless Goods Producers in the US

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  • Bernard, Andrew B.
  • Fort, Teresa C

Abstract

This paper documents the extent and characteristics of plants and firms in the US that are outside the manufacturing sector according to official government statistics but nonetheless are heavily involved in activities related to the production of manufactured goods. Using new data on establishment activities in the Census of Wholesale Trade conducted by the US Bureau of the Census in 2002 and 2007, this paper provides evidence on so-called “factoryless goods producers” (FGPs) in the US economy. FGPs are formally in the wholesale sector but, unlike traditional wholesale establishments, FGPs design the goods they sell and coordinate the production activities. This paper documents the extent of FGPs in the wholesale sector and how they differ from traditional wholesalers in terms of their employment, wages, productivity and output. Reclassifying FGP establishments to the manufacturing sector using our definition would have shifted at least 595,000 workers to as many as 1,311,000 workers from wholesale to manufacturing sectors in 2002 and at least 431,000 workers to as many as 1,934,000 workers in 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernard, Andrew B. & Fort, Teresa C, 2013. "Factoryless Goods Producers in the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 9644, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9644
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    Cited by:

    1. Breinlich, Holger & Soderbery, Anson & Wright, Greg C., 2014. "From selling goods to selling services: firm responses to trade liberalization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60523, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Amador, João & Cabral, Sónia, 2014. "Global value chains: surveying drivers and measures," Working Paper Series 1739, European Central Bank.
    3. David Byrne & Brian K. Kovak & Ryan Michaels, 2013. "Price and Quality Dispersion in an Offshoring Market: Evidence from Semiconductor Production Services," NBER Working Papers 19637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Pol Antràs & Teresa C. Fort & Felix Tintelnot, 2014. "The Margins of Global Sourcing: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Firms," NBER Working Papers 20772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2016. "Factoryless goods producers in Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 9-15.
    6. Hummels, David & Munch, Jakob R. & Xiang, Chong, 2016. "Offshoring and Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 9741, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Carrère, Céline & Grujovic, Anja & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2015. "Trade and frictional unemployment in the global economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66490, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Virginia Di Nino, 2015. "‘The phenomenal CAT’: firms clawing the goods of others," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 281, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Matthieu Crozet & Emmanuel Milet, 2015. "Should everybody be in services? The effect of servitization on manufacturing firm performance," Working Papers 2015-19, CEPII research center.
    10. João Amador & Sónia Cabral, 2014. "Global Value Chains: Surveying Drivers, Measures and Impacts," Working Papers w201403, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    11. Talan İşcan, 2015. "Windfall Resource Income, Productivity Growth, and Manufacturing Employment," Open Economies Review, Springer, pages 279-311.
    12. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:9:p:2514-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Andrew B. Bernard & Teresa C. Fort, 2015. "Factoryless Goods Producing Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 518-523.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contract manufacturing services; manufacturing plants and firms; offshoring; outsourcing; product design; wholesale plants and firms;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • F61 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Microeconomic Impacts
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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