Bruno Merlevede, Victoria Purice, 29 March 2019

Supplying inputs to multinational firms has been shown to increase the productivity of domestic firms, while borders have been shown to substantially reduce trade activities. This column investigates whether spillover effects from multinationals on local firms occur when firms are separated by a national border. Using data for seven Central and Eastern European countries and their neighbours, it finds that cross-border spillovers only occur after EU integration, and that participation in the Schengen Area magnifies these effects. The results bear testimony to successful EU integration and warn about potential productivity costs to local firms should border controls be reinstated.

Bruno Merlevede, Angelos Theodorakopoulos, 24 January 2019

Studies of the implications of trade openness for local economies rarely address the domestic supply chain. This column examines whether indirect effects of internationalisation affect the domestic supply chain. Micro-level data for manufacturing firms across 19 EU countries, combined with input-output tables, show that domestic access to intermediate inputs that are also exported leads to higher levels of efficiency.

Emek Basker, Timothy S. Simcoe, 18 January 2018

ICT fuelled rapid growth in US retail during the 1990s and 2000s. This column maps the adoption of universal product codes and scanners to show that the barcode was one of the main drivers of this growth. Companies adopting barcodes employed 10% more employees, delivered a wider range of products, and were more likely to procure from abroad.

Benjamin Hansen, Keaton Miller, Caroline Weber, 04 November 2017

Tax revenue has historically been one of the arguments in favour of legalising marijuana. This column uses a change in Washington’s marijuana tax regime to explore how taxation affects industry and consumer behaviour. Gross receipts taxes encourage vertical as a form of tax avoidance and thus reduce expected revenue. The choice of what to tax (revenue versus weight) also has important implications for how the market evolves.

Kazunobu Hayakawa, Toshiyuki Matsuura, 09 July 2017

Foreign direct investment has generally been found to have positive effects for firms in their home country. There are, however, concerns about potential negative effects for other domestic firms in the investing firm’s supply chain. This column uses Japanese firm-level data to explore the supply chain effects of foreign direct investment. Foreign direct investment does not appear to have adverse effects on domestic transaction networks. Rather, the positive effects of firms’ foreign investing are found to spread to the whole economy through their supply chains.

Susan Helper, Jennifer Kuan, 20 December 2016

Innovation is often associated with a few visionaries working in new and dynamic industries. In practice, however, critical innovation occurs daily at many points throughout a supply chain. This column uses recent survey data to examine innovation in the US automotive supply chain. Process innovations can have major downstream benefits, and ‘collaborative creativity’ between suppliers and customers is found to be critical in innovation efforts. US automakers should focus on strengthening ties with their suppliers in order to remain competitive.

Stela Rubínová, Emmanuel Dhyne, 04 July 2016

Even in export-oriented industries, only a handful of firms ship their goods abroad. These firms are systematically different from their purely domestic counterparts. This column sheds light on the domestic supply chain of exporters to uncover firms whose production is exported indirectly. Accounting for indirect exporters brings the empirics of international trade closer to the modern structure of production, characterised by many stages in possibly many locations. These findings suggest that the distributional effects of globalisation go beyond the exporters versus non-exporters dichotomy.

Laura Alfaro, Pol Antràs, Davin Chor, Paola Conconi, 14 November 2015

Trade in intermediate inputs now accounts for as much as two-thirds of international trade. Firms must decide which segments of their production processes to own and which to outsource. Using global plant-level data, this column empirically examines firms’ organisational choices along value chains. Decisions to integrate or outsource upstream and downstream functions are found to depend on demand elasticity relative to the substitutability of inputs. These results provide strong evidence that integration decisions are driven by contractual frictions.

Olaf Unteroberdoerster, Jade Vichyanond, Adil Mohommad, 12 June 2011

Persistent global imbalances are raising concerns about the sustainability of the global recovery and economic growth in general. This column argues that a proper appreciation of the influence of exchange rates and demand on global imbalances requires taking into account an important feature of Asia’s trade – cross-border supply chains or “vertical integration”.

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