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Trade liberalization, heterogeneous firms and the soft budget constraint

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  • Alexeev, Michael
  • Jang, Yong Joon

Abstract

We analyze the interaction between the soft budget constraint (SBC) and international trade by placing Segal's (1998) SBC model within Melitz's (2003) framework of international trade with heterogeneous monopolistically competitive firms. As in Segal's model, SBC may result in moral hazard. The opening to international trade adds another sort of inefficiency. Some firms that would have become exporters in the absence of SBC choose to apply low effort and not export in order to extract a subsidy from the government. This effect takes place when the trade costs are sufficiently low. Overall, however, trade liberalization reduces inefficiencies generated by SBC. The number of firms subject to moral hazard SBC decreases, aggregate effort level increases and aggregate profits lost due to SBC-induced sub-optimal effort decline as trade costs decrease.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 449-460

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:449-460

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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Keywords: Soft budget constraint International trade Heterogeneous firms Monopolistic competition;

References

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  1. Kornai, J, 1979. "Resource-Constrained versus Demand-Constrained Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 801-19, July.
  2. Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2006. "Trade, inequality, and the political economy of institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3836, The World Bank.
  3. Alexeev, Michael & Kim, Sunghwan, 2004. "Lenders' reputation and the soft budget constraint," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 69-73, July.
  4. Mathias Dewatripont & Eric Maskin, 1995. "Credit and efficiency in centralized and decentralized economies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9603, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  6. Maskin, Eric & Xu, Cheng-Gang, 2001. "Soft Budget Constraint Theories: From Centralization to the Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2715, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 11.
  8. Thomas Chaney, 2007. "Liquidity Constrained Exporters," 2007 Meeting Papers 979, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
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