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The Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade

Author

Listed:
  • Gregory Corcos

    () (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Delphine M. Irac

    () (Bank of France)

  • Giordano Mion

    () (Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Thierry Verdier

    () (Paris School of Economics and CEPR)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of the intra-firm vs arms’length sourcing mode of imported inputs. We build a unique French dataset of 1,141,393 import transactions at the firm, country and product levels in the year 1999 that allow us to distinguish the different sourcing modes. We study the firms-, country- and product- determinants of intra-firm trade. We confirm a number of theory-based predictions building on the residuals property rights approach and provide some empirical facts that can be used to further refine this as well as alternative theories. In particular, we highlight the fact that firms’ heterogeneity needs to be evaluated across different dimensions. Furthermore, we point out that complex goods are more likely to be produced within the firm boundaries suggesting that those material and immaterial attributes that characterized a product play a key role in globalized sourcing strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Corcos & Delphine M. Irac & Giordano Mion & Thierry Verdier, 2008. "The Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade," Development Working Papers 267, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:267
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    2. Michael P. Keane & Susan E. Feinberg, 2006. "Accounting for the Growth of MNC-Based Trade Using a Structural Model of U.S. MNCs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1515-1558, December.
    3. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
    4. Pol Antràs & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2009. "Organizations and Trade," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 43-64, May.
    5. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
    6. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, January.
    7. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
    8. Juan Carluccio & Thibault Fally, 2012. "Global Sourcing under Imperfect Capital Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 740-763, August.
    9. Defever, Fabrice & Toubal, Farid, 2007. "Productivity and the sourcing modes of multinational firms: evidence from French firm-level data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19655, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
    11. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    12. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
    13. Ranjan, Priya & Tobias, Justin, 2007. "Bayesian Inference in the Gravity Model," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12721, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internationalization strategies; intra-firm trade; outsourcing; firm heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F19 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Other

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