Skip to main content

CEP discussion paper

Global Value Chains During the Great Trade Collapse: A Bullwhip Effect?


This paper analyzes the performance of global value chains during the trade collapse. To do so, it exploits a unique transaction-level dataset on French firms containing information on cross-border monthly transactions matched with data on worldwide intra-.rm linkages as defined by property rights (multinational business groups, hierarchies of firms). This newly assembled dataset allows us to distinguish firm-level transactions among two alternative organizational modes of global value chains: internalization of activities (intra- group trade/trade among related parties) or establishment of supply contracts (arm’s length trade/trade among unrelated parties). After an overall assessment of the role of global value chains during the trade collapse, we document that intra-group trade in intermediates was characterized by a faster drop followed by a faster recovery than arm’s length trade. Amplified fluctuations in terms of trade elasticities by value chains have been referred to as the 'bullwhip effect' and have been attributed to the adjustment of inventories within supply chains. In this paper we first con.rm the existence of such an effect due to trade in inter- mediates, and we underline the role that different organizational modes can play in driving this adjustment.


Carlo Altomonte, Filippo Di Mauro, Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, Armando Rungi and Vincent Vicard

29 February 2012     Paper Number CEPDP1131

Download PDF - Global Value Chains During the Great Trade Collapse: A Bullwhip Effect?

This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Trade programme.