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Economising, Strategising and the Decision to Outsource

  • Dermot Leahy
  • Catia Montagna

We study the make-or-buy decision of oligopolistic firms in an industry in which final good production requires specialised inputs. Firms’ mode of operation decision depends on both the incentive to economize on costs and on strategic considerations. We explore the strategic incentives to outsource and show that asymmetric equilibria emerge, with firms choosing different modes of operation, even when they are ex-ante identical. With ex-ante asymmetries, higher cost firms are more likely to outsource. We apply our model to a number of different international trading setups.

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File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gep/documents/papers/2011/11-17.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, GEP in its series Discussion Papers with number 11/17.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:11/17
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  1. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," NBER Working Papers 9740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Eiichi Tomiura, 2005. "Foreign Outsourcing, Exporting, and FDI: A Productivity Comparison at the Firm Level," Discussion Paper Series 168, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  4. Abraham, Katharine G & Taylor, Susan K, 1996. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 394-424, July.
  5. Ann Bartel & Saul Lach & Nachum Sicherman, 2005. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 11158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 135-159.
  7. Antràs, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. McLaren, John, 1999. "Supplier relations and the market context: A theory of handshakes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 121-138, June.
  9. Chen, Yongmin & Ishikawa, Jota & Yu, Zhihao, 2004. "Trade liberalization and strategic outsourcing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 419-436, July.
  10. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret Slade, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 629-685, September.
  11. Keith Head & John Ries & Barbara J. Spencer, 2002. "Vertical Networks and US Auto Parts Exports: Is Japan Different?," NBER Working Papers 9162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
  13. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
  14. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2004. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 10198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
  16. Gorzig, Bernd & Andreas Stephan, 2003. "Outsourcing and Firm-level Performance," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 90, Royal Economic Society.
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  18. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Barbara J. Spencer & Larry D. Qiu, 2000. "Keiretsu and Relationship-Specific Investment: A Barrier to Trade?," NBER Working Papers 7572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration versus Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120.
  22. Shy, Oz & Stenbacka, Rune, 2003. "Strategic outsourcing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 203-224, February.
  23. Robert Feenstra, 2003. "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Working Papers 986, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  24. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2002. "Outsourcing Versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 3647, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Robert C. Feenstra & Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "Contractual Versus Generic Outsourcing: The Role of Proximity," NBER Working Papers 11885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Nickerson, Jack A. & Vanden Bergh, Richard, 1999. "Economizing in a context of strategizing: governance mode choice in Cournot competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-15, September.
  27. Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "On the Transaction Cost Determinants of Vertical Integration," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-23, April.
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