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Trade Liberalization and Organizational Change

  • Paola Conconi

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles, ECARES and CEPR)

  • Patrick Legros

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles, ECARES and CEPR)

  • Andrew F. Newman

    (Boston University and CEPR)

We embed a simple incomplete-contracts model of organization design in a standard two-country perfectly-competitive trade model to examine how the liberalization of product and factor markets affects the ownership structure of firms. In our model, managers decide whether or not to integrate their firms, trading off the pecuniary benefits of coordinating production decisions with the private benefits of operating in their preferred ways. The price of output is a crucial determinant of this choice, since it affects the size of the pecuniary benefits. In particular, non-integration is chosen at “low” and “high” prices, while integration occurs at moderate prices. Organizational choices also depend on the terms of trade in supplier markets, which affect the division of surplus between managers. We obtain three main results. First, even when firms do not relocate across countries, the price changes triggered by liberalization of product markets can lead to significant organizational restructuring within countries. Second, the removal of barriers to factor mobility can lead to inefficient reorganization and adversely affect consumers. Third, “deep integration” the liberalization of both product and factor markets ­ leads to the convergence of organizational design across countries.

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File URL: http://www.dagliano.unimi.it/media/wp2008_262.pdf
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Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 262.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 27 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:262
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  1. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, And Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418, November.
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  10. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
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  13. Pavcnik, Nina, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvement: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 245-76, January.
  14. Mussa, Michael, 1974. "Tariffs and the Distribution of Income: The Importance of Factor Specificity, Substitutability, and Intensity in the Short and Long Run," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1191-1203, Nov.-Dec..
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  16. Ornelas, Emanuel & Turner, John L., 2010. "Protection and International Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 8070, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  19. 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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  29. Puga, Diego & Trefler, Daniel, 2010. "Wake up and smell the ginseng: International trade and the rise of incremental innovation in low-wage countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 64-76, January.
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