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Economising, Strategising and the Decision to Outsource

  • Dermot Leahy
  • Catia Montagna

We study the make-or-buy decision of oligopolistic firms in an industry in which final good production requires specialised inputs. Firms’ mode of operation decision depends on both the incentive to economize on costs and on strategic considerations. We explore the strategic incentives to outsource and show that asymmetric equilibria emerge, with firms choosing different modes of operation, even when they are ex-ante identical. With ex-ante asymmetries, higher cost firms are more likely to outsource. We apply our model to a number of different international trading setups.

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File URL: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/media/dundeewebsite/economicstudies/documents/discussion/DDPE_251.pdf
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Paper provided by Economic Studies, University of Dundee in its series Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics with number 251.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dun:dpaper:251
Contact details of provider: Postal: Dundee, DD1 4HN
Phone: (01382) 344375
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Web page: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/econman/
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  1. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Hummels & Jun Ishii & Kei-Mu Yi, 1999. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Staff Reports 72, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Bernd Görzig & Andreas Stephan, 2002. "Outsourcing and Firm-level Performance," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 309, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries : The Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 799, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Spencer, Barbara J & Qiu, Larry D, 2001. "Keiretsu and Relationship-Specific Investment: A Barrier to Trade?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 871-901, November.
  6. Keith Head & John Ries & Barbara J. Spencer, 2002. "Vertical Networks and US Auto Parts Exports: Is Japan Different?," NBER Working Papers 9162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Robert C. Feenstra & Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "Contractual Versus Generic Outsourcing: The Role of Proximity," NBER Working Papers 11885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Outsourcing Versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 317-327, 04/05.
  10. McLaren, J, 1996. "Supplier Relations and the Market Context : A Theory of Handshakes," Papers 766, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  11. 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.
  12. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 729-761, May.
  13. Nickerson, Jack A. & Vanden Bergh, Richard, 1999. "Economizing in a context of strategizing: governance mode choice in Cournot competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-15, September.
  14. Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 3196327, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Robert Feenstra, 2003. "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Working Papers 986, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  16. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Chen, Yongmin & Ishikawa, Jota & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Trade Liberalization and Strategic Outsourcing," Discussion Papers 2001-04, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  19. Bartel, Ann P & Lach, Saul & Sicherman, Nachum, 2005. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 5082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Holger Görg & Aoife Hanley, 2004. "Does Outsourcing Increase Profitability?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 35(3), pages 267-288.
  21. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
  22. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
  23. Shy, Oz & Stenbacka, Rune, 2003. "Strategic outsourcing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 203-224, February.
  24. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
  25. Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "On the Transaction Cost Determinants of Vertical Integration," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-23, April.
  26. 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.
  27. Yongmin Chen & Jota Ishikawa & Zhihao Yu, 2002. "Trade Liberalization and Strategic Outsourcing," Carleton Economic Papers 02-12, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2004.
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