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Offshore production and business cycle dynamics with heterogeneous firms

  • Andrei Zlate

Cross-country variation in production costs encourages the relocation of production facilities to other countries, a process known as offshoring through vertical foreign direct investment. I examine the effect of offshoring on the international transmission of business cycles. Unlike the existing macroeconomic literature, I distinguish between fluctuations in the number of offshoring firms (the extensive margin) and in the value added per offshoring firm (the intensive margin) as separate transmission mechanisms. The firms' decision to produce offshore depends on the firm-specific level of labor productivity, on fluctuations in the relative cost of effective labor, and on the fixed and trade costs of offshoring. The model replicates the procyclical pattern of offshoring and the dynamics along its two margins, which I document using data from U.S. manufacturing and Mexico's maquiladora sectors. Offshoring enhances the synchronization of business cycles, and dampens the real exchange rate appreciation generated by aggregate productivity differentials across countries.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 995.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:995
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  1. Costas Arkolakis & Ananth Ramanarayanan, 2008. "Vertical specialization and international business cycle synchronization," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 21, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2118, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Fabio Ghironi & Marc Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 451, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  8. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2007. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle Is the Trend," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 69-102.
  9. Pedro Silos, 2005. "Housing, portfolio choice, and the macroeconomy," Working Paper 2005-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  10. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-71, June.
  11. Natalia Ramondo & Andr�s Rodr�guez-Clare, 2013. "Trade, Multinational Production, and the Gains from Openness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 273 - 322.
  12. George Alessandria & Horag Choi, 2005. "Do sunk costs of exporting matter for net export dynamics?," Working Papers 05-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  13. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  14. Fattal Jaef, Roberto N. & Lopez, Jose Ignacio, 2014. "Entry, trade costs, and international business cycles," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 224-238.
  15. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2007. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle is the Trend," Scholarly Articles 11988098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Daniel Farhat, 2009. "Endogenous Labor Supply, Heterogeneous Firms and International Business Cycles," Working Papers 0909, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2009.
  17. Sylvain Leduc & David Arseneau, 2012. "Threatening to Offshore in a Search Model of the Labor Market," 2012 Meeting Papers 943, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Silvio Contessi, 2010. "How does multinational production change international comovement?," Working Papers 2010-041, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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