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To Outsource or Not to Outsource Inn North-South Trade

  • Choi, E. Kwan

This paper investigates outsourcing and foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions based on factor price differentials in North-South trade when the production activity is fragmented into two independent processes. It is shown that (a) when the Southern firm does not have the Northern firm-specific technology for a fragmentable process and capital is imperfectly (perfectly) mobile between countries, the Northern firm produces the final product by outsourcing the other fragmentable process from the South through either FDI or outsourcing to a Southern outsourcee); (b) when the Southern firm acquires the Northern firm-specific technology for the fragmentable process and capital is imperfectly (perfectly) mobile, only the Northern firm produces the final product by outsourcing the other process via FDI and drives out the Southern firm from the world market (both the Northern and Southern firms produce the final product); (c) however, in all the cases, outsourcing is unidirectional from the North to the South.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 34997.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Frontiers in Finance and Economics, April 2010, vol. 7 no. 1, pp. 60-81
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:34997
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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  1. Helpman, Elhanan, 2006. "Trade, FDI and the Organization of Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Chi-Chur Chao & Eden S. H. Yu, 1993. "Content Protection, Urban Unemployment and Welfare," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 481-92, May.
  3. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Long, Ngo Van, 2005. "Outsourcing and technology spillovers," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 297-304.
  5. Choi, E. Kwan, 2007. "To Outsource or Not to Outsource in an Integrated World," Staff General Research Papers 12535, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Richard E. Baldwin & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 1998. "Multiproduct Multinationals and Reciprocal FDI Dumping," NBER Working Papers 6483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya & T. N. Srinivasan, 2004. "The Muddles over Outsourcing," International Trade 0408004, EconWPA.
  8. Hartmut Egger & Peter Egger, 2000. "Outsourcing and skill-specific employment in a small economy: Austria and the fall of the Iron Curtain," Economics working papers 2000-24, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  9. Gorg, Holger & Hanley, Aoife, 2005. "Labour demand effects of international outsourcing: Evidence from plant-level data," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-376.
  10. Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "International outsourcing and factor prices with multistage production," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C166-C185, 03.
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