Offshoring, Relationship-Specificity, and Domestic Production Networks

Author Name FURUSAWA Taiji  (Hitotsubashi University) /ITO Keiko  (Senshu University) /INUI Tomohiko  (Faculty Fellow) /Heiwai TANG  (Johns Hopkins University)
Creation Date/NO. October 2015 15-E-122
Research Project Global Markets and Japan's Industrial Growth
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An economy is an interlinked web of production units. This paper examines both theoretically and empirically how firms' offshoring decisions lead to reorganization of domestic production networks. We build a buyer-seller model that features supplier heterogeneity in efficiency and distance, as well as intermediate inputs that vary in the degree of specificity to the relationship with the buyer. The model predicts that the more productive buyers will source inputs from a larger range of domestic regions, especially for generic inputs. Inputs that are more relationship-specific are more likely to be insourced and less likely to be outsourced from distant regions or foreign countries. A drop in offshoring costs will induce the more productive final good producers to replace some of the less efficient domestic suppliers with foreign ones, and generic input suppliers are more likely to be dropped despite their higher productivity. The resulting reduction of input costs will induce them to expand the geographic scope of domestic outsourcing. Using unique and exhaustive data on the buyer-seller network in Japan, we find evidence supporting the main predictions of the model.