IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

International Sourcing, Product Complexity and Intellectual Property Rights

  • Alireza Naghavi


  • Julia Spies


  • Farid Toubal


In this paper, we propose the technological complexity of a product and the level of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) protection to be the co-determinants of the mode through which multinational firms purchase their goods. We study the choice between intra-firm trade and outsourcing given heterogeneity at the product- (complexity), firm- (productivity) and country- (IPRs) level. Our findings suggest that the above three dimensions of heterogeneity are crucial for complex goods, where firms face a trade-off between higher marginal costs in the case of trade with an affiliate and higher imitation risks in the case of sourcing from an independent supplier. We test these predictions by combining data from a French firm-level survey on the mode choice for each transaction with a newly developed complexity measure at the product-level. Our fractional logit estimations confirm the proposition that although firms are generally reluctant to source highly complex goods from outside the firm’s boundaries, they do so when a strong IPR regime in the host country guarantees the protection of their technology.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi" in its series Center for Economic Research (RECent) with number 067.

in new window

Length: pages 27
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mod:recent:067
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ginarte, Juan C. & Park, Walter G., 1997. "Determinants of patent rights: A cross-national study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 283-301, October.
  2. Arnaud Costinot & Lindsay Oldenski & James Rauch, 2009. "Adaptation and the Boundary of Multinational Firms," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-059, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  3. Juan Carlos Hallak & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2009. "Firms' Exporting Behavior under Quality Constraints," NBER Working Papers 14928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olena Ivus, 2011. "Trade-related intellectual property rights: industry variation and technology diffusion," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(1), pages 201-226, February.
  5. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & López-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "The Regulation of Entry," CEPR Discussion Papers 2953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Rachel Griffith & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2004. "Vertical Integration and Technology: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pol Antràs & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2009. "Organizations and Trade," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 43-64, 05.
  9. James E. Rauch, 2001. "Business and Social Networks in International Trade," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1177-1203, December.
  10. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Robust Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 238-249, April.
  12. Crozet, Matthieu & Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2009. "Quality Sorting And Trade: Firm-Level Evidence For French Wine," Working Papers 53883, American Association of Wine Economists.
  13. Antràs, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Defever, Fabrice & Toubal, Farid, 2013. "Productivity, relationship-specific inputs and the sourcing modes of multinationals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 345-357.
  15. Fabrice Defever & Farid Toubal, 2007. "Productivity and the sourcing modes of multinational firms: evidence from French firm-level data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19655, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  17. Smarzynska, Beata K., 2002. "The composition of foreign direct investment and protection of intellectual property rights : evidence from transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2786, The World Bank.
  18. Jonah B. Gelbach & Doug Miller, 2009. "Robust Inference with Multi-way Clustering," Working Papers 99, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  19. Kamal Saggi, 2002. "Trade, Foreign Direct Investment, and International Technology Transfer: A Survey," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 191-235, September.
  20. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Wu, Xiaodong, 2007. "Intellectual property rights and quality improvement," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 393-415, March.
  21. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Leslie E. Papke & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1993. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(k) Plan Participation Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Ivus, Olena, 2010. "Do stronger patent rights raise high-tech exports to the developing world?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 38-47, May.
  24. Wilhelm Kohler & Marcel Smolka, 2009. "Global Sourcing Decisions and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 2903, CESifo Group Munich.
  25. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 2002. "Intellectual property rights and foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 387-410, March.
  26. Laura Abramovsky & Rachel Griffith, 2005. "Outsourcing and offshoring of business services: how important is ICT?," IFS Working Papers W05/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  27. Park, Walter G., 2008. "International patent protection: 1960-2005," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 761-766, May.
  28. Katharine G. Abraham & James R. Spletzer & Michael Harper, 2010. "Labor in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra08-1, June.
  29. Amy Jocelyn Glass, 2004. "Outsourcing under Imperfect Protection of Intellectual Property," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 867-884, November.
  30. Lee Branstetter & Raymond Fisman & C. Fritz Foley & Kamal Saggi, 2007. "Intellectual Property Rights, Imitation, and Foreign Direct Investment: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mod:recent:067. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.