Essays on Strategy, Institutions, and Multinationals in Global Supply Chains

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Essays on Strategy, Institutions, and Multinationals in Global Supply Chains

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Title: Essays on Strategy, Institutions, and Multinationals in Global Supply Chains
Author: Carlsson, Kjell
Citation: Carlsson, Kjell. 2012. Essays on Strategy, Institutions, and Multinationals in Global Supply Chains. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: This dissertation investigates two major themes: (1) the strategies that global firms use to overcome weak institutions in their outsourcing and (2) how local institutions affected how firms reconfigured their global supply chains in response to the financial crisis. All three papers use a unique dataset of international contract manufacturing orders that provides hitherto unavailable insight into the global supply chains of many of the world's largest brands in footwear, sportswear, and apparel. In the first essay I create a formal model that examines the use of relational contracting by firms to overcome weak contracting institutions in their supply chains. The model predicts that, when the risk of future demand shocks is high, buyers make long-term commitments to source from suppliers in weak institution countries. I test this model and find that buyers preserved their relationships with suppliers in weak contract enforcement countries during the financial crisis for reasons that cannot be explained by cost. In conjunction with the model, these results suggest that relying on relational contracting to overcome weak contracting institutions can reduce a buyer’s flexibility in configuring his supplier networks. In the second essay, I examine whether firms choose to source from multinational (MNC) suppliers instead of local suppliers as a means of overcoming weak contract enforcement institutions or as a means of accessing supply chain management capabilities. I find strong evidence that buyers are more likely to source from MNC suppliers in countries where contract enforcement is weak and when they have less experience sourcing from a given country. Buyers are also more likely to source from MNC suppliers when they source a wider variety of products, have smaller supplier networks, and have smaller order volumes. My third essay investigates how trade credit terms are affected by local credit markets, financial institutions, and market power. I find that trade credit terms are longer when local credit markets are more developed and when buyers have market power. I also test how trade credit terms responded to the financial crisis and find that terms lengthened subject to the depth of local credit markets and buyer market power.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9385641
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