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Intra-firm Trade and Product Contractibility (Long Version)


  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • J. Bradford Jensen
  • Stephen J. Redding
  • Peter K. Schott


This paper examines the determinants of intra-firm trade in U.S. imports using detailed country-product data. We create a new measure of product contractibility based on the degree of intermediation in international trade for the product. We find important roles for the interaction of country and product characteristics in determining intra-firm trade shares. Intra-firm trade is high for products with low levels of contractability sourced from countries with weak governance, for skill-intensive products from skill-scarce countries, and for capital-intensive products from capital-abundant countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Intra-firm Trade and Product Contractibility (Long Version)," NBER Working Papers 15881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15881
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:idb:idbbks:6668 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. C. Duprez, 2014. "Creating export value. An analysis of Belgium," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue ii, pages 23-38, September.
    3. Goswami, Arti Grover, 2013. "Vertical FDI versus outsourcing: The role of technology transfer costs," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-21.
    4. Araujo, Luis & Mion, Giordano & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2016. "Institutions and export dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 2-20.
    5. Blyde, Juan & Molina, Danielken, 2015. "Logistic infrastructure and the international location of fragmented production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 319-332.
    6. Díez, Federico J., 2014. "The asymmetric effects of tariffs on intra-firm trade and offshoring decisions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 76-91.
    7. Gregory Corcos & Delphine M. Irac & Giordano Mion & Thierry Verdier, 2013. "The Determinants of Intrafirm Trade: Evidence from French Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 825-838, July.
    8. Aleksandar Zaklan, 2013. "Why Do Emitters Trade Carbon Permits?: Firm-Level Evidence from the European Emission Trading Scheme," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1275, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Wen-Bin Chuang & Hui-lin Lin & Chien-Wei Wu, 2015. "Does Institutional Quality Strengthen The Positive Influence of Offshore R&D Strategy on the Firm Productivity?," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(2), pages 279-294, February.
    10. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:92-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. García-Vega, María & Huergo, Elena, 2017. "Trust and technology transfers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 92-104.
    12. Canuto, Otaviano & Dutz, Mark & Reis, José Guilherme, 2010. "Technological Learning and Innovation: Climbing a Tall Ladder," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 21, pages 1-8, July.
    13. Basco, Sergi, 2013. "Financial development and the product cycle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 295-313.
    14. Juan S. Blyde, 2012. "Contracting Institutions and the Insertion of LAC in International Production Networks," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4035, Inter-American Development Bank.
    15. Carluccio, Juan & Bas, Maria, 2015. "The impact of worker bargaining power on the organization of global firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 162-181.
    16. Hayato Kato & Hirofumi Okoshi, 2017. "Production Location of Multinational Firms under Transfer Pricing: The Impact of the Arm's Length Principle," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2017-016, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.
    17. Antrà s, Pol & Yeaple, Stephen R., 2014. "Multinational Firms and the Structure of International Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    18. Del Prete, Davide & Rungi, Armando, 2017. "Organizing the global value chain: A firm-level test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 16-30.
    19. Juan S. Blyde & Christian Volpe Martincus & Danielken Molina, 2014. "Fábricas sincronizadas: América Latina y el Caribe en la era de las Cadenas Globales de Valor," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 86755 edited by Juan S. Blyde, February.
    20. Egger, Peter & Seidel, Tobias, 2013. "Corporate taxes and intra-firm trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 225-242.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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