Comportements des firmes et commerce international
Joël Thomas Ravix
Revue de l'OFCE,
Growth of international outsourcing, has been a dominant feature of the international economy. Recent theoretical developments have focused on firm behaviour and its consequences on trade structure, through the introduction of the modern theory of the firm. In a first section, we link this new approach with previous explanations of vertical specialization (intra-industry trade and Multinational Corporation). In a second section, we present methodology and results of these new developments, which analyze trade as a consequence of the choices of heterogeneous firms about organisational structure and localisation. In a third section, we discuss contributions and limitations of the introduction of the firm behaviour. We advance that the focus on firms choices provides new explanations for specialization, trade structure and patterns of foreign direct investments. But we argue that these results are constrained by the choice of a contractual theory of the firm. JEL Codes: F12, F23, L22, L23.