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Buyer Investment, Product Variety, and Intrafirm Trade

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  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • Yongmin Chen

Abstract

This paper studies a simple model of buyer investment and its effect on the variety and vertical structure of international trade. A distinction is made between two types of buyer investment: "flexible" and "specific." Their interactions with the entry and pricing incentives of suppliers are analyzed. It is shown that (i) there can be multiple equilibria in the variety of products traded, and (ii) less product variety is associated with more intrafirm trade. The possibility of multiple equilibria is consistent with the observation that some similar economies, such as Taiwan and South Korea, differ substantially in their export varieties to the U.S. A formal empirical analysis confirms the negative correlation between product variety and intrafirm trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert C. Feenstra & Yongmin Chen, 2005. "Buyer Investment, Product Variety, and Intrafirm Trade," NBER Working Papers 11752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11752
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2008. "An Assignment Theory of Foreign Direct Investment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 529-557.
    2. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
    3. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    6. Feenstra, Robert & Hiau Looi Kee, 2004. "Export variety and country productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3412, The World Bank.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    9. Yongmin Chen, 2006. "Marketing Innovation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 101-123, March.
    10. Mark A. Planting & Jiemin Guo, 2002. "Increasing the Timeliness of U.S. Annual I-O Accounts," BEA Papers 0022, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    11. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen & Andrew K. Rose, 2001. "Using the gravity equation to differentiate among alternative theories of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 430-447, May.
    12. William J. Zeile, 2003. "Trade in Goods Within Multinational Companies: Survey-Based Data and Findings for the United States of America," BEA Papers 0033, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    13. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
    14. Feenstra, Robert C. & Yang, Tzu-Han & Hamilton, Gary G., 1999. "Business groups and product variety in trade: evidence from South Korea, Taiwan and Japan," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 71-100, June.
    15. Joskow, Paul L, 1987. "Contract Duration and Relationship-Specific Investments: Empirical Evidence from Coal Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 168-185, March.
    16. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Trade," NBER Working Papers 8712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Sato, Kazuo, 1976. "The Ideal Log-Change Index Number," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(2), pages 223-228, May.
    18. Stanley C. Hollander & Kathleen M. Rassuli (ed.), 1993. "Marketing," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 512, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert C. Feenstra & Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "Contractual Versus Generic Outsourcing: The Role of Proximity," NBER Working Papers 11885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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