Ornelas, Emanuel and Turner, John L. (2008) Trade liberalization, outsourcing, and the hold-up problem. Journal of International Economics, 74 (1). pp. 225-241. ISSN 0022-1996
This paper shows that, in a bilateral relationship where a foreign supplier has to make a relationship-specific investment but cannot enforce a complete contract, the standard hold-up problem of underinvestment is aggravated when trade incurs a tariff. In this context, we identify two new channels through which trade liberalization enhances international trade. First, lower tariffs increase the incentives of foreign suppliers to undertake cost-reducing investments. Second, lower tariffs may prompt vertical multinational integration. These indirect effects imply that responses of trade volumes to trade liberalization are greater than standard tradenext term models suggest and help explain current trends toward foreign outsourcing and intra-firm trade.
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