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Contractual Versus Generic Outsourcing: The Role of Proximity

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  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • Barbara J. Spencer

Abstract

We explore the relationship between proximity of buyers and sellers and the organizational form of outsourcing. Outsourcing can be "contractual" in which suppliers undertake specific investments or involve "generic" market transactions. Proximity expands the variety of products sourced through contracts abroad rather than at home, but the range of generic imports is unchanged. A higher-quality foreign workforce raises the variety of contractual trade, but at the expense of generics. We confirm these predictions using data for ordinary versus processing exports from Chinese provinces to destination markets and also the predictions of an extended model that allows for multinational production.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11885
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
    2. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hong, Chang & Ma, Hong & Spencer, Barbara J., 2013. "Contractual versus non-contractual trade: The role of institutions in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 281-294.
    3. Rosario Crinò, 2009. "Offshoring, Multinationals And Labour Market: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 197-249, April.
    4. Dermot Leahy & Catia Montagna, 2011. "Economising, Strategising and the Decision to Outsource," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 251, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    5. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2009. "Foreign versus domestic outsourcing: Firm-level evidence on the role of technology," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 219-226, March.
    6. Kikuchi, Toru & Long, Ngo Van, 2010. "A simple model of service offshoring with time zone differences," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 217-227, December.
    7. Bruce A. Blonigen & Alyson C. Ma, 2019. "Please Pass the Catch-Up: The Relative Performance of Chinese and Foreign Firms in Chinese Exports," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foreign Direct Investment, chapter 12, pages 401-445, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. di Mauro, Filippo & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Vicard, Vincent & Altomonte, Carlo & Rungi, Armando, 2012. "Global value chains during the great trade collapse: a bullwhip effect?," Working Paper Series 1412, European Central Bank.
    9. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 589-630, September.
    10. Galina A. Schwartz & Ari Van Assche, 2006. "Input Specificity and Global Sourcing," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-02, CIRANO.
    11. Yiping Zhu, 2008. "Globalisation, Employment, and Wage Rate: What Does Literature Tell Us?," IMK Working Paper 07-2008, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    12. Adelheid Holl & Rafael Pardo & Ruth Rama, 2010. "Just-in-Time Manufacturing Systems, Subcontracting and Geographic Proximity," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(5), pages 519-533.
    13. James Harrigan & Haiyan Deng, 2010. "China's Local Comparative Advantage," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 109-133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Stefano Federico, 2010. "Outsourcing versus integration at home or abroad and firm heterogeneity," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 47-63, February.
    15. Van Assche, Ari & Schwartz, Galina A., 2010. "Input specificity and global sourcing," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 69-85, March.
    16. Alicia Garcia-Herrero, 2015. "Determinants of Trade in Parts and Components: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 1524, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    17. Huiya Chen & Deborah L. Swenson, 2010. "Managerial Incentives and the Organization of Chinese Processing Trade," Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting & Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 235-252.
    18. Rahman, Mizanur, 2008. "The Impact of a Common Currency on East Asian Production Networks and China’s Exports Behavior," MPRA Paper 13931, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Dimitra Petropoulou & Xavier Cirera & Dirk Willenbockel, 2013. "The Determinants of Outward Processing: Evidence from Offshoring Intermediates by the European Union," Working Paper Series 5413, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    20. Stefano Federico, 2010. "Outsourcing versus Integration at Home or Abroad," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 742, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures

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