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The Organization of Supply: a Vertical Equilibrium Analysis

  • Nadav Levy

In this paper I study how the make-or-buy decision of a firm depends on the organization of its peers. I consider a multi-firm framework in which firms choose whether to integrate into the supply of an intermediate input or to outsource its production, and choose the size of their supplier network if outsourcing. Firms find it optimal to share the same set of suppliers, as there are economies of scope in investment to suppliers taking multiple designs. These economies are due to spillovers of technical or operational know-how between projects and to savings in the setup costs on physical capital. The model admits multiple vertical equilibria that are Pareto-ranked, the one with the highest level of outsourcing being most efficient. Outsourcing is more likely in larger markets and when the economies of scope are stronger. The size of the optimal supplier network however typically decreases when the spillovers are stronger. These findings provide an insight to the patterns of reorganization of vertical supply relations observed over the last two decades

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 142.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:142
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  1. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185.
  2. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan K. Taylor, 1993. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  4. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  6. Thomas J. Holmes, 1995. "Localization of industry and vertical disintegration," Staff Report 190, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. J. Yannis Bakos & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1997. "From Vendors to Partners: Information Technology and Incomplete Contracts in Buyer-Supplier Relationships," Working Paper Series 154, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. 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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