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Outsourcing versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium

  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Elhanan Helpman

We study the determinants of the extent of outsourcing and of direct foreign investment in an industry in which producers need specialized components. Potential suppliers must make a relationship-specific investment in order to serve each prospective customer. Such investments are governed by imperfect contracts. A final-good producer can manufacture components for itself, but the per-unit cost is higher than for specialized suppliers. We consider how the size of the cost differential, the extent of contractual incompleteness, the size of the industry, and the relative wage rate affect the organization of industry production.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9300.

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Date of creation: Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Outsourcing Versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 317-327, 04/05.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9300
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  1. Puga, Diego & Trefler, Daniel, 2002. "Knowledge Creation and Control in Organizations," CEPR Discussion Papers 3516, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ronald W. Jones, 2000. "Globalization and the Theory of Input Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026210086x, June.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. 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.
  5. Jose Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 1997. "The Evolving External Orientation of Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 5919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  7. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
  8. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 8728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni, Jr. & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Expansion Strategies of U.S. Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 8433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
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