Optimizing Local Content Requirements Under Technology Gaps
Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Vol. 21, No. 1, Winter 2019, pp. 213–230
40 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2016 Last revised: 12 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 10, 2017
Problem Definition: We study how the government of a developing country optimizes its Local Content Requirement (LCR) policy to maximize social welfare in a setting where foreign OEMs produce and sell multi-component products in the developing country and local sourcing of components is more costly than global sourcing due to technology gaps between local and global suppliers.
Academic/Practical Relevance: We characterize and compare the optimal product-level and component-level LCR policies imposed on multi-component products. Component-level LCR and its relationship with product-level LCR, although relevant to trade policymaking, have not been studied in prior research.
Methodology: Stylized modeling with Stackelberg game, welfare optimization, and Cournot competition.
Results: The optimal component-level LCR for low-gap (or high-gap) components is higher (or lower) than the optimal product-level LCR, although the two policies achieve the same maximum social welfare. The optimal LCR is monotone increasing in the market size of the final product but decreasing in the corporate tax rate. The optimal LCR is decreasing in the number of competing foreign OEMs but increasing in the number of competing local OEMs.
Managerial Implications: 1) From a welfare standpoint, imposing LCR at the component level may be unnecessary. However, when replacing a product-level LCR policy with a component-level one, governments should increase (or decrease) the LCR for low-gap (or high-gap) components. 2) Governments should consider raising LCR when their domestic market grows. 3) When more foreign OEMs enter their domestic markets, governments should consider lowering LCR. 4) The emergence of local OEMs should give governments an incentive to raise LCR. 5) The carrot-and-stick approach makes sense when implementing LCR policies---LCR should be set low (or high) when the corporate tax rate is high (or low).
Keywords: Local Content Requirements; Technology Gaps; Developing Countries; Global Supply Chain Management
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