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Greasing the wheels of international commerce: how services facilitate firms' international sourcing

  • Debaere, Peter
  • Görg, Holger
  • Raff, Horst

We use unique plant-level data to study the link between the local availability of services and the decision of manufacturing firms to source materials from abroad. To guide our empirical analysis we develop a monopolistic-competition model of the materials sourcing decisions of heterogeneous firms. The model generates predictions about how the intensity of international sourcing of materials depends on a firm's productivity and the availability of local services. These predictions are supported by the data. We find evidence that more productive manufacturing firms tend to have a higher ratio of imported materials to sales. In addition, we find evidence that services grease the wheels of international commerce: A greater availability of services across regions, industries and time increases a firm's foreign sourcing of materials relative to sales. Interestingly, this positive impact of local service availability on imports especially applies to stand-alone firms that, unlike multinationals, are less likely to rely on imported or internally provided services.

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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/37475/1/VfS_2010_pid_60.pdf
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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in its series Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy with number 37475.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkie:37475
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  1. Ann E. Harrison & Brian J. Aitken, 1999. "Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Direct Foreign Investment? Evidence from Venezuela," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 605-618, June.
  2. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
  3. Deardorff, Alan V, 2001. "International Provision of Trade Services, Trade, and Fragmentation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 233-48, May.
  4. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  5. Van Long, Ngo & Riezman, Raymond & Soubeyran, Antoine, 2005. "Fragmentation and services," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 137-152, March.
  6. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2011. "International trade in services: A portrait of importers and exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 188-206, July.
  7. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
  8. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," NBER Working Papers 12091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 63-88.
  13. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," RCER Working Papers 532, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  14. Horst Raff & Nicolas Schmitt, 2009. "Imports, Pass-Through, and the Structure of Retail Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 2817, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Girma, Sourafel & Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2004. "Exports, international investment, and plant performance: evidence from a non-parametric test," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 317-324, June.
  16. Stephen S. Golub & Ronald W. Jones & Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 63-88.
  17. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Joseph F. Francois, 1990. "Trade in Producer Services and Returns Due to Specialization under Monopolistic Competition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(1), pages 109-24, February.
  19. Stephen S. Golub, Ronald W. Jones, Henryk Kierzkowski, 2007. "Globalization and Country-Specific Service Links," IHEID Working Papers 05-2007, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
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