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The Determinants of Vertical Integration in Export Processing: Theory and Evidence from China

  • Ana Fernandes
  • Heiwai Tang

Using detailed product-level export data for China and a variant of the Antras and Helpman (2004) model that includes investments in component search, we examine the sectoral determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI) versus foreign outsourcing in export processing trade. We exploit the coexistence of two regulatory export processing regimes in China, Which specify who owns and controls the imported components for export processing. We find that in the regime that Chinese plants own the imported components, the share of exports from vertically integrated plants is increasing in the intensity of headquarter inputs across sectors, and is decreasing in the contractibility of inputs. These results are consistent with the property-rights theory of intra-firm trade. However, in the regime that foreign firms own the imported components, no significant relationship is found between the prevalence of vertical integration, headquarter intensity, and input contractibility across sectors. The positive relationship between productivity dispersion and the export share fo the integrated plants across sectors, as suggested by the existing literature, is found only in the regime that foreign firms own the imported components. These results are consistent with our model, which considers ownership of imported components as an alternative to asset ownership to alleviate the hold-up problem by the export-processing plant.

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File URL: http://ase.tufts.edu/econ/research/documents/2010/determinantsVertical.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0749.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0749
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  1. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J Bradford & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Pol Antras, 2004. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 62, Econometric Society.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
  4. Stephen Ross Yeaple, 2006. "Offshoring, Foreign Direct Investment, and the Structure of U.S. Trade," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 602-611, 04-05.
  5. Paola Conconi & Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Organizational Choice," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-172, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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  8. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Gregory Corcos & Delphine M. Irac & Giordano Mion & Thierry Verdier, 2008. "The Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade," Development Working Papers 267, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  11. Antràs, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
  13. Emanuel Ornelas & John L. Turner, 2008. "Protection and international sourcing," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28511, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  14. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, August.
  15. Fabrice Defever & Farid Toubal, 2007. "Productivity and the sourcing modes of multinational firms: evidence from French firm-level data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19655, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," NBER Working Papers 9740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  20. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
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