Law, Social Responsibility, and Outsourcing
48 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2014 Last revised: 27 Jan 2016
Date Written: October 2015
Previous research into law and corporate social responsibility mostly assumes that the vertical structure of production is exogenous. By outsourcing, a brand may avoid some liability and responsibility, but lose direct control over the evasive actions that cause harm. Here, we analyze the trade off between avoidance of liability and control over evasion. (i) Evasive actions reduce production costs, and so, evasion increases with the speed/scale of production. Under outsourcing, the brand may depress speed/scale to induce less evasion. (ii) Maximizing welfare requires comparing welfare under vertical integration and outsourcing, and so, is an inherently non-convex problem. (iii) If demand is elastic, the cost of production is high or enforcement is weak, then vertical integration is optimal. It discretely raises welfare by raising production speed/scale (increasing consumer benefit by more than production costs), and lowering evasion (reducing harm by more than it raises production costs).
Keywords: Law, corporate social responsibility, outsourcing, vertical integration
JEL Classification: L02, F02, J03
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation