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Production networks and the organization of the global manufacturing economy

Abstract

In this article, I explicate an organizational theory that links global models of networked organization to cross-national variation in manufacturing specialization. To subject the theory to empirical scrutiny, I derive cross-nationally comparable measurements of the average network position of resident firms in two industries with ideal-typical forms of network governance- garments and transportation equipment. Analytical results suggest that manufacturing specialization varies by network position in both industries, even when controlling for timeinvariant country-specific organizational unobservables and conventional thinking on international specialization. Moreover, these networks matter only during the period after which the two types of governance are alleged to have become the predominant organizational logic of the two industries, and are more important for manufacturing specialization in the transport-equipment industry. The article concludes by implicating these findings in discussions of the distribution of the gains from networked forms of economic organization. © The Author(s) 2012.

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