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Organizing the Global Value Chain

  • Pol Antràs
  • Davin Chor

We develop a property-rights model of the firm in which production entails a continuum of uniquely sequenced stages. In each stage, a final-good producer contracts with a distinct supplier for the procurement of a customized stage-specific component. Our model yields a sharp characterization for the optimal allocation of ownership rights along the value chain. We show that the incentive to integrate suppliers varies systematically with the relative position (upstream versus downstream) at which the supplier enters the production line. Furthermore, the nature of the relationship between integration and "downstreamness" depends crucially on the elasticity of demand faced by the final-good producer. Our model readily accommodates various sources of asymmetry across final-good producers and across suppliers within a production line, and we show how it can be taken to the data with international trade statistics. Combining data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Related Party Trade database and estimates of U.S. import demand elasticities from Broda and Weinstein (2006), we find empirical evidence broadly supportive of our key predictions. In the process, we develop two novel measures of the average position of an industry in the value chain, which we construct using U.S. Input-Output Tables.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18163.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Publication status: published as Pol Antràs & Davin Chor, 2013. "Organizing the Global Value Chain," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2127-2204, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18163
Note: IO ITI
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  1. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan E. Vogel & Su Wang, 2011. "An Elementary Theory of Global Supply Chains," CESifo Working Paper Series 3402, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  3. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Working Papers 149, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  4. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2009. "A Concordance Between Ten-Digit U.S. Harmonized System Codes and SIC/NAICS Product Classes and Industries," NBER Working Papers 15548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Philipp Harms & Oliver Lorz & Dieter Urban, 2012. "Offshoring along the production chain," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(1), pages 93-106, February.
  7. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
  8. David Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," 2004 Meeting Papers 530, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Baldwin, Richard & Venables, Anthony J, 2010. "Spiders and Snakes: Offshoring and Agglomeration in the Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 8163, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "International outsourcing and factor prices with multistage production," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C166-C185, 03.
  11. Antràs, Pol & Chor, Davin & Fally, Thibault & Hillberry, Russell, 2012. "Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 8839, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Pol Antràs, 2011. "Grossman-Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," NBER Working Papers 17470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Andrei A. Levchenko & Julian di Giovanni, 2009. "Putting the Parts together; Trade, Vertical Linkages, and Business Cycle Comovement," IMF Working Papers 09/181, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  16. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:376-390 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Findlay, Ronald, 1978. "An "Austrian" Model of International Trade and Interest Rate Equalization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 989-1007, December.
  18. Sanyal, Kalyan K, 1983. "Vertical Specialization in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Stages of Production," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 71-78, February.
  19. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2004. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," IMF Working Papers 04/231, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Eyal Winter, 2006. "Optimal incentives for sequential production processes," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 376-390, 06.
  21. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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