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Outsourcing and Innovation: An Empirical Study of Causes and Effects

Author

Listed:
  • Sasan Bakhtiari

    () (The University of New South Wales)

  • Robert Breunig

    () (Australian National University)

Abstract

We study the implications of vertical integration on innovation performance using firm-level data on Australian manufacturing. We use the data to distinguish between low-cost-oriented and innovation-oriented outsourcing. Outsourcing without innovation lowers costs at the expense of damaging the future chances of innovation, while innovation-oriented outsourcing leads to higher costs but increases the likelihood of future innovation. For firms that innovate and outsource, the probability of future innovation is 54 per cent compared to 15 per cent for those who outsource without innovating. Comparing across firms that innovate, simultaneously outsourcing increases the probability of future innovation by 4 per cent. Innovation-oriented outsourcing is accompanied by firms shifting focus to research and marketing of new products. Our results offer strong support that outsourcing may be used not just as a cost-cutting strategy, but as part of comprehensive firm strategy to innovate and improve.

Suggested Citation

  • Sasan Bakhtiari & Robert Breunig, 2012. "Outsourcing and Innovation: An Empirical Study of Causes and Effects," Discussion Papers 2012-35, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2012-35
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    File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2012-35.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2010. "Global engagement and the innovation activities of firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 191-202, March.
    2. Robert Breunig & Marn-Heong Wong, 2008. "A Richer Understanding of Australia's Productivity Performance in the 1990s: Improved Estimates Based Upon Firm-Level Panel Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 84(265), pages 157-176, June.
    3. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Outsourcing; Innovation; Firm Performance; Business Strategy.;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing

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