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How Wide Is the Firm Border?

Listed author(s):
  • Enghin Atalay
  • Ali Hortaçsu
  • Mary Jialin Li
  • Chad Syverson

We examine the within- and across-firm shipment decisions of tens of thousands of goods-producing and distributing establishments. This allows us to quantify the normally unobservable forces that determine firm boundaries; which transactions are mediated by ownership control, as opposed to contracts or markets. We find firm boundaries to be an economically significant barrier to trade: having an additional vertically integrated establishment in a given destination zip code has the same effect on shipment volumes as a 40 percent reduction in distance. We then calibrate a multisector trade model to quantify the economy-wide implications of transacting across vs. within firm boundaries.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23777.

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Date of creation: Sep 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23777
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  1. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2009. "Bonus vetus OLS: A simple method for approximating international trade-cost effects using the gravity equation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 77-85, February.
  2. Kirk Monteverde & David J. Teece, 1982. "Supplier Switching Costs and Vertical Integration in the Automobile Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 206-213, Spring.
  3. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, 09.
  4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  5. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, 09.
  6. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel S. Kortum & Sebastian Sotelo, 2012. "International Trade: Linking Micro and Macro," NBER Working Papers 17864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Catherine Buffington & Lucia Foster & Ron Jarmin & Scott Ohlmacher, 2016. "The Management and Organizational Practices Survey (MOPS): An Overview," Working Papers 16-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Masten, Scott E. & Meehan, James Jr. & Snyder, Edward A., 1989. "Vertical integration in the U.S. auto industry : A note on the influence of transaction specific assets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 265-273, October.
  9. Windmeijer, Frank, 2000. "Moment conditions for fixed effects count data models with endogenous regressors," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 21-24, July.
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