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International Outsourcing versus FDI under Contractual Incompleteness

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  • Valeria Gattai

Abstract

This paper empirically analyzes the boundaries of a large sample of Italian multinational enterprises, with firm-level data from Capitalia, AIDA and Centrale dei Bilanci. Within the broad array of feasible contracts in a foreign country, we focus on the trade-off between international outsourcing and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), in a context of contractual incompleteness. Probit estimates reveal that Italian enterprises operating in highly relation-specific environments are more prone to international outsourcing than FDI, consistently with recent theoretical contributions on the topic. Results are robust to different specifications and alternative measures of contractual incompleteness and international outsourcing.

Suggested Citation

  • Valeria Gattai, 2013. "International Outsourcing versus FDI under Contractual Incompleteness," Working Papers 237, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:237
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    File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper237.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stephen Ross Yeaple, 2006. "Offshoring, Foreign Direct Investment, and the Structure of U.S. Trade," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 602-611, 04-05.
    2. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 589-630.
    3. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
    4. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Alessandro Turrini, 2002. "Distance and FDI when Contracts are Incomplete," Development Working Papers 165, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    5. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
    8. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser & William R. Kerr, 2010. "What Causes Industry Agglomeration? Evidence from Coagglomeration Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1195-1213, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    11. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-460, March.
    12. David J. TEECE, 2008. "TRANSACTIONS COST ECONOMICS AND THE MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISE: An Assessment," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Transfer And Licensing Of Know-How And Intellectual Property Understanding the Multinational Enterprise in the Modern World, chapter 20, pages 427-451 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    13. Valeria Gattai, 2006. "From the Theory of the Firm to FDI and Internalisation: A Survey," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 65(2), pages 225-262, November.
    14. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
    15. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    16. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
    18. Sergio Mariotti & Lucia Piscitello & Stefano Elia, 2010. "Spatial agglomeration of multinational enterprises: the role of information externalities and knowledge spillovers," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 519-538, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    FDI; international outsourcing; contractual incompleteness; Italy;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities

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