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The Theories of International Outsourcing and Integration : A Theoretical Overview from the Perspective of Organizational Economics

  • Hideshi Itoh

    (Hitotsubashi University)

The purpose of this essay is to provide an overview of the theories of the vertical firm boundaries from a viewpoint of a theorist whose field of specialization is organizational economics. I offer several testable theoretical hypotheses (with a few relevant empirical studies in the fields outside international economics) hoping future research will test them in the context of international vertical relationships in East Asia, and provide theorists like me with new evidence and evaluations, both positive and negative. Such interaction is crucial for our further understanding of multinational firms strategies in East Asia. I first summarize two approaches to the boundaries of the firm, the transaction costs approach and the property rights approach. To differentiate from those recent survey papers by scholars of international trade which mostly focus on these approaches, I put more emphasis on alternative theories, since in the field of organizational economics, the property rights approach to the firm boundaries has been criticized and alternative theories have been developing.

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File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/21891
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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Microeconomics Working Papers with number 21891.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:eab:microe:21891
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Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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  1. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
  2. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
  3. Jed DeVaro & Fidan Ana Kurtulus, 2010. "An An Empirical Analysis of Risk, Incentives and the Delegation of Worker Authority," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 641-661, July.
  4. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
  5. Bengt Holmstrom & John Roberts, 1998. "The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 73-94, Fall.
  6. Maija Halonen, 2002. "Reputation And The Allocation Of Ownership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 539-558, July.
  7. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Helpman, Elhanan, 2006. "Trade, FDI and the Organization of Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  11. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Shelanski, Howard A & Klein, Peter G, 1995. "Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-61, October.
  14. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2001. "Courts and Relational Contracts," NBER Working Papers 8572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Hideshi Itoh & Hodaka Morita, 2006. "Formal Contracts, Relational Contracts, and the Holdup Problem," CESifo Working Paper Series 1786, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  18. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  19. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
  20. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman & Adam Szeidl, 2005. "Complementarities between Outsourcing and Foreign Sourcing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 19-24, May.
  21. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
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