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Trade liberalization, outsourcing, and firm productivity

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  • Ossa, Ralph

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that trade liberalization increases firm productivity. This paper offers a novel explanation for this finding. I develop a simple general equilibrium model of trade in which trade liberalization leads to outsourcing as firms focus on their core competencies in response to tougher competition. Since firms are the better at performing tasks the closer they are to their core competencies, this outsourcing increases firm productivity. Moreover, I also investigate the links between various technological parameters and outsourcing. In particular, I analyze how technological progress, changes in fixed costs, and changes in internal governance costs affect firms’ integration decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Ossa, Ralph, 2007. "Trade liberalization, outsourcing, and firm productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19698, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19698
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
    2. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
    3. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    4. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
    5. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
    7. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
    9. Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2005. "Market size and tax competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 25-46, September.
    10. Philippe Aghion & Robin Burgess & Stephen Redding & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "Entry Liberalization and Inequality in Industrial Performance," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 291-302, 04/05.
    11. Carsten Eckel & J. Peter Neary, 2010. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 188-217.
    12. Daniel Trefler, 2004. "The Long and Short of the Canada-U. S. Free Trade Agreement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 870-895, September.
    13. Petia Topalova & Amit Khandelwal, 2011. "Trade Liberalization and Firm Productivity: The Case of India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 995-1009, August.
    14. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2006. "Globalization and Endogenous Firm Scope," NBER Working Papers 12322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Multiproduct Firms and Trade Liberalization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1271-1318.
    16. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration versus Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade Liberalization; Outsourcing; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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