Integration vs. Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium

52 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2001

See all articles by Gene M. Grossman

Gene M. Grossman

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Elhanan Helpman

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2001

Abstract

We develop an equilibrium model of industrial structure in which the organization of firms is endogenous. Differentiated consumer products can be produced either by vertically integrated firms or by pairs of specialized companies. Production of each variety of consumer good requires a unique, specialized component. Vertically integrated firms can manufacture the components they need in the quantity and type that maximizes profits, but they face a relatively high cost due to diseconomies of scope. Specialized firms can produce at lower cost, but outsourcing imposes costs due to search frictions and imperfect contracting. We study the equilibrium mode of organization when inputs are fully or partially specialized. We consider how the degree of competition in the industry, the nature of the search technology, the division of bargaining strength between intermediate and final producers, and the sensitivity of manufacturing costs to input characteristics affect the equilibrium organizational form.

JEL Classification: D23, D43, D51

Suggested Citation

Grossman, Gene M. and Helpman, Elhanan, Integration vs. Outsourcing in Industry Equilibrium (April 2001). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 460. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=270937

Gene M. Grossman (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

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Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Elhanan Helpman

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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United States
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

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