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Do Prices Determine Vertical Integration?

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Listed:
  • Laura Alfaro
  • Paola Conconi
  • Harald Fadinger
  • Andrew F. Newman

Abstract

What is the relationship between product prices and vertical integration? While the literature has focused on how integration affects prices, this paper provides evidence that prices can affect integration. Many theories in organizational economics and industrial organization posit that integration, while costly, increases productivity. It follows from firms' maximizing behavior that higher prices induce more integration. The reason is that at low prices, increases in revenue resulting from enhanced productivity are too small to justify the cost, whereas at high prices the revenue benefit exceeds the cost. Trade policy provides a source of exogenous price variation to assess the validity of this prediction: higher tariffs should lead to higher prices and therefore to more integration. We construct firm-level indices of vertical integration for a large set of countries and industries and exploit cross-section and time-series variation in import tariffs to examine their impact on firm boundaries. Our empirical results provide strong support for the view that output prices are a key determinant of vertical integration.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Alfaro & Paola Conconi & Harald Fadinger & Andrew F. Newman, 2010. "Do Prices Determine Vertical Integration?," NBER Working Papers 16118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16118
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    1. Eric Van den Steen, 2005. "Organizational Beliefs and Managerial Vision," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 256-283, April.
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    1. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:258-277 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:indorg:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:25-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Christopher Hansman & Jonas Hjort & Gianmarco León & Matthieu Teachout, 2017. "Vertical Integration, Supplier Behavior, and Quality Upgrading among Exporters," NBER Working Papers 23949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alfaro, Laura & Cunat, Alejandro & Fadinger, Harald & Yanping, Liu, 2017. "The real exchange rate, innovation and productivity," Working Papers 17-04, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    5. Johannes Boehm, 2014. "The Impact of Contract Enforcement Costs on Outsourcing and Aggregate Productivity," 2014 Meeting Papers 340, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Laura Alfaro & Pol Antras & Davin Chor & Paola Conconi, 2015. "Internalizing Global Value Chains: A Firm-Level Analysis," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2015-29, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Boehm, Johannes, 2015. "The impact of contract enforcement costs on outsourcing and aggregate productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86281, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Carl Gaigné & Karine Latouche & Stéphane Turolla, 2015. "Vertical ownership and export performance: firm-level evidence from France," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 15-07, INRA UMR SMART-LERECO.
    9. Macchiavello, Rocco & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa, 2017. "Vertical Integration and Relational Contracts: Evidence from the Costa Rica Coffee Chain," CEPR Discussion Papers 11874, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2014. "Contracts, Ownership, and Industrial Organization: Past and Future," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(suppl_1), pages 82-117.
    11. Pol Antràs, 2014. "Grossman–Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(suppl_1), pages 118-175.
    12. Trifkovic, Neda, 2015. "Vertical Coordination and Aquaculture Farm Performance: The Case of Catfish Sector in Vietnam," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211930, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Peter Arendorf Bache & Anders Laugesen, 2013. "Trade Liberalisation and Vertical Integration," Economics Working Papers 2013-14, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    14. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Legros, Patrick & Zingales, Luigi (ed.), 2016. "The Impact of Incomplete Contracts on Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199826216.
    15. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 2017. "Demand-driven integration and divorcement policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 306-325.
    16. Macchiavello, Rocco & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa, 2017. "Vertical Integration and Relational Contracts: Evidence from the Costa Rica Coffee Chain," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 321, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    17. Vencappa, Dev & Stiebale, Joel, 2017. "Import Competition and Vertical Integration: Evidence from India," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168237, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    18. Alquist, Ron & Berman, Nicolas & Mukherjee, Rahul & Tesar, Linda, 2018. "Financial constraints, institutions, and foreign ownership," CEPR Discussion Papers 12646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. 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.
    20. P. Giannoccolo & C. Vergari, 2015. "Revealing incentives for vertical integration in the presence of glocal policies," Working Papers wp1015, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    21. Pedro Mendi & Rafael Moner-Colonques & José Sempere-Monerris, 2011. "Vertical integration, collusion, and tariffs," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 359-378, September.
    22. Ron Alquist & Nicolas Berman & Rahul Mukherjee & Linda L. Tesar, 2018. "Financial Constraints, Institutions, and Foreign Ownership," Working Papers 660, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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