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Accounting for the Growth of MNC-Based Trade Using a Structural Model of U.S. MNCs

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  • Michael P. Keane
  • Susan E. Feinberg

Abstract

In recent decades, U.S. foreign trade grew much faster than GDP, but there is no consensus why. Notably lacking is an understanding of the role of multinational corporations (MNCs), which mediate over half of world trade. We use Bureau of Economic Analysis data on U.S. MNCs to study the rapid growth of MNC-based trade from 1983 to 1996. Using a model of U.S. MNCs and Canadian affiliates, we decompose this growth by source. Tariff reductions can largely explain increases in arms-length MNC-based trade. But intra-firm trade growth is attributed mostly to ?technical change.? We present additional evidence suggesting just-in-time production facilitated intra-firm trade. (JEL F13, F14, F23)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.96.5.1515
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1515-1558

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:5:p:1515-1558

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.5.1515
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  1. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
  2. Z, Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1997. "Production Functions : The Search for Identification," Working Papers 97-30, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  3. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K & Grossman, Gene M, 1982. "Trade and Protection with Multistage Production," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 583-94, October.
  5. Markusen, James R & Maskus, Keith E, 2002. "Discriminating among Alternative Theories of the Multinational Enterprise," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 694-707, November.
  6. Deardorff, A.V., 1998. "Fragmentation in Simple Trade Models," Papers 98-11, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2007. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 837-873, 05.
  8. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Scholarly Articles 3445092, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Brander, James A., 1981. "Intra-industry trade in identical commodities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-14, February.
  10. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  11. Susan E. Feinberg & Michael P. Keane & Mario F. Bognanno, 1998. "Trade Liberalization and Delocalization: New Evidence from Firm-Level Panel Data," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(4), pages 749-777, November.
  12. Susan E. Feinberg & Michael P. Keane, 2001. "U.S.-Canada Trade Liberalization And Mnc Production Location," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 118-132, February.
  13. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "An Empirical Assessment of the Factor Proportions Explanation of Multi-National Sales," NBER Working Papers 4583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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