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Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy

  • Eckel, Carsten
  • Neary, J. P.

We present a new model of multi-product firms (MPFs) and flexible manufacturing, and explore its implications in partial and general oligopolistic equilibrium. Globalization affects the scale and scope (or intensive margin and intra-firm extensive margin) of MPFs through a competition effect and a demand effect. The model highlights a new source of gains from trade: productivity increases as firms become \" leaner and meaner\" , concentrating on their core competence; but also a new source of losses from trade: product variety may fall. Our results also hold under free entry, which allows in addition for adjustment along the traditional inter-firm extensive margin.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20525.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Review of Economic Studies 1 77(2010): pp. 188-217
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20525
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  1. Ottaviano, G.I.P. & Thisse, J.-F., 1999. "Monopolistic Competition, Multiproduct Firms and Optimum Product Diversity," Economics Working Papers eco99/31, European University Institute.
  2. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585, May.
  3. Eckel, Carsten, 2009. "International trade, flexible manufacturing, and outsourcing," Munich Reprints in Economics 20531, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. John Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2009. "The Impact of Trade on Plant Scale, Production-Run Length and Diversification," NBER Chapters, in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 557-592 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Paul Allanson & Catia Montagna, 1999. "Multiproduct Firms and Market Structure: An Explorative Application to the Product Life Cycle," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 101, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  6. NORMAN, George & THISSE, Jacques-François, 1996. "Technology choice and market structure : strategic aspects of flexible manufacturing," CORE Discussion Papers 1996059, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Multi-product firms and trade liberalization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Eaton, B Curtis & Schmitt, Nicolas, 1994. "Flexible Manufacturing and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 875-88, September.
  9. Richard E. Baldwin & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 1998. "Multiproduct Multinationals and Reciprocal FDI Dumping," NBER Working Papers 6483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jiandong Ju, 2003. "Oligopolistic Competition, Technology Innovation, and Multiproduct Firms," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(2), pages 346-359, 05.
  11. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  12. James Brander & Jonathan Eaton, 1982. "Product Line Rivalry," Working Papers 519, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  13. David P. Myatt & Justin P. Johnson, 2005. "Multiproduct Cournot Oligopoly," Economics Series Working Papers 145, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  14. repec:got:cegedp:45 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Volker Grossmann, 2003. "Firm Size and Diversification: Asymmetric Multiproduct Firms under Cournot Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1047, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2003. "Multiproduct Quality Competition: Fighting Brands and Product Line Pruning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 748-774, June.
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