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Pol Antràs

Harvard University

Pol Antràs is Robert G. Ory Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 2003. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), where he served as Director of the International Trade and Organization (ITO) Working Group. He is also a Research Affiliate at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and is a member of CESifo’s Research Network. His teaching and research fields are international economics and applied theory. His most recent work is focused on the analysis of global value chains and on the interplay between trade, inequality and costly redistribution.
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Launch Event: How Supply Chain Research Can Help Solving Societal Challenges
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publication
Internalizing Global Value Chains: A Firm-Level Analysis

A key decision facing firms is the extent of control to exert over the different stages in their production processes. We develop and test a property rights model of firm boundary choices along the value chain. We construct firm-level measures of the upstreamness of integrated and nonintegrated inputs by combining information on firms’ production activities in more than 100 countries with input-output tables. Whether a firm integrates upstream or downstream suppliers depends crucially on the elasticity of demand it faces. Moreover, integration is shaped by the relative contractibility of stages along the value chain, as well as by the firm’s productivity.

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publication
On the measurement of upstreamness and downstreamness in global value chains

This paper offers four contributions to the empirical literature on global value chains (GVCs). First, we provide a succinct overview of several measures developed to capture the upstreamness or downstreamness of industries and countries in GVCs. Second, we employ data from the World Input-Output Database (WIOD) to document the empirical evolution of these measures over the period 1995-2011; in doing so, we highlight salient patterns related to countries’ GVC positioning – as well as some puzzling correlations – that emerge from the data. Third, we develop a theoretical framework – which builds on Caliendo and Parro’s (2015) variant of the Eaton and Kortum (2002) model – that provides a structural interpretation of all the entries of the WIOD in a given year. Fourth, we resort to a calibrated version of the model to perform counterfactual exercises that: (i) sharpen our understanding of the independent effect of several factors in explaining the observed empirical patterns in the period 1995-2011; and (ii) provide guidance for how future changes in the world economy are likely to shape the positioning of countries in GVCs.

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publication
The Margins of Global Sourcing: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Firms

We develop a quantifiable multi-country sourcing model in which firms self-select into importing based on their productivity and country-specific variables. In contrast to canonical export models where firm profits are additively separable across destination markets, global sourcing decisions naturally interact through the firm's cost function. We show that, under an empirically relevant condition, selection into importing exhibits complementarities across source markets. We exploit these complementarities to solve the firm's problem and estimate the model. Comparing counterfactual predictions to reduced-form evidence highlights the importance of interdependencies in firms' sourcing decisions across markets, which generate heterogeneous domestic sourcing responses to trade shocks.

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