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Outsourcing and Competition Policy

We analyze optimal competition policy by a Competition Agency (CA) in a model with two countries, North and South, where a final good is produced by Northern oligopolistic firms using an input that can either be produced within the firm (vertical integration) or outsourced to Southern oligopolistic producers with lower labor costs (outsourcing). In the case where the final good is only consumed in the North and there is free entry in the South, we find that optimal competition policy in the North is the adoption of a tougher stance. However, with a CA in the South, the Southern CA would optimally appropriate outsourcing rents through restrictions on the degree of competition among domestic firms. In this case the optimal response of the Northern CA would be inaction. In the case where the final good is consumed in both countries, we find that optimal competition policy is marginally affected by the share of Southern consumption, leaving relatively important incentives to engage in rent-shifting. However, for a high enough share of Southern consumption, the interaction between the Northern and Southern CA is shown to be of the Prisoner's Dilemma type, whereby the Nash equilibrium is Pareto-suboptimal and mutual cooperation on competition policy is globally desirable.

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Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 11-2007.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision: Mar 2007
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heiwp11-2007
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  1. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1966, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Jota Ishikawa & Barbara J. Spencer, 1996. "Rent-Shifting Export Subsidies with an Imported Intermediate Product," NBER Working Papers 5458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. J Peter Neary, 2002. "The Road Less Travelled - Oligopoly and Competition Policy in General Equilibrium," Working Papers 200222, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Keith Head & John Ries, 1997. "International Mergers and Welfare under Decentralized Competition Policy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1104-23, November.
  6. Andrew Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2009. "Multi-Product Firms and Trade Liberalization," Working Papers 09-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  8. 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.
  9. Horn, H. & Levinsohn, J., 1998. "Merger Policies and Trade Liberalization," Working Papers 420, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1981. "Tariffs and the Extraction of Foreign Monopoly Rents under Potential Entry," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 14(3), pages 371-89, August.
  11. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  13. Luis M. B. Cabral, 2003. "An Equilibrium Approach to International Merger Policy," Working Papers 03-25, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  14. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Eaton, Jonathan & Grossman, Gene M, 1986. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy under Oligopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 383-406, May.
  16. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Vertical Production Networks in Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 664-678, November.
  17. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2005, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. 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.
  19. Alexander Hijzen, 2005. "A Bird’s Eye View of International Outsourcing: Data, Measurement and Labour Demand Effects," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 104, pages 45-63.
  20. Hackner, Jonas, 2000. "A Note on Price and Quantity Competition in Differentiated Oligopolies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 233-239, August.
  21. 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.
  22. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
  23. Oz Shy & Rune Stenbacka, 2005. "Partial outsourcing, monitoring cost, and market structure," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1173-1190, November.
  24. Barros, Pedro P. & Cabral, Luis, 1994. "Merger policy in open economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1041-1055, May.
  25. Aditya Bhattacharjea, 2006. "The Case for a Multilateral Agreement on Competition Policy: A Developing Country Perspective," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 293-323, June.
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