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International trade, risk taking and welfare

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  • Vannoorenberghe, G.

Abstract

This paper shows that the gains from opening up to international trade are smaller when firms do not fully internalize downward risk. I develop a general equilibrium model with two key assumptions. First, when faced with adverse productivity shocks, employers can lay off workers without fully paying the social costs of their layoff decisions, a common feature of many institutions. Second, when opening to international trade, the elasticity of demand perceived by an industry increases. In this setup, I show that international trade induces firms to take more risk and (i) raises the equilibrium unemployment rate, (ii) increases the volatility of sectoral sales and (iii) increases welfare proportionately less than in the absence of the externality. Inducing firms to internalize the costs of layoff (Blanchard and Tirole, 2003) therefore appears even more important in a globalized world.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 363-374

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:92:y:2014:i:2:p:363-374

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

Related research

Keywords: International trade; Volatility; Risk taking; Unemployment; Layoff taxes;

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References

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  1. Cahuc, Pierre & Zylberberg, Andre, 2005. "Optimum Income Taxation and Layoff Taxes," CEPR Discussion Papers 5170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Blanchard, Olivier J & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "The Joint Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection. A First Pass," CEPR Discussion Papers 6127, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Intra-industry trade under perfect monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 151-175, May.
  4. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," NBER Working Papers 5537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Cuñat, Alejandro & Melitz, Marc J., 2012. "Volatility, Labor Market Flexibility, and the Pattern of Comparative Advantage," Scholarly Articles 10914283, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Temporary Layoffs in the Theory of Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 937-57, October.
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  13. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  14. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
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  16. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  17. White, Michelle J, 1989. "The Corporate Bankruptcy Decision," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 129-51, Spring.
  18. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2006. "Trade Openness and Volatility," Development Working Papers 219, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  19. Foellmi, Reto & Oechslin, Manuel, 2012. "Globalization and Productivity in the Developing World," Economics Working Paper Series 1203, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  20. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  21. Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "International trade and labor-demand elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 27-56, June.
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