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Contractual Versus Generic Outsourcing: The Role of Proximity

  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • Barbara J. Spencer

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11885.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11885.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11885
Note: ITI PR
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  1. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
  2. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  3. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
  4. Barbara J. Spencer & Larry D. Qiu, 2000. "Keiretsu and Relationship-Specific Investment: A Barrier to Trade?," NBER Working Papers 7572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2008. "Power inside the firm and the market: A general equilibrium approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19255, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Qiu, Larry D. & Spencer, Barbara J., 2002. "Keiretsu and relationship-specific investment: implications for market-opening trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 49-79, October.
  7. Carolyn L. Evans & James Harrigan, 2003. "Distance, Time, and Specialization," NBER Working Papers 9729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Keith Head & John Ries & Barbara J. Spencer, 2002. "Vertical Networks and US Auto Parts Exports: Is Japan Different?," NBER Working Papers 9162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & Yongmin Chen, 2005. "Buyer Investment, Product Variety, and Intrafirm Trade," NBER Working Papers 11752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 729-761, May.
  11. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  12. 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.
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