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Price equalization does not imply free trade

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  • Piyusha Mutreja
  • B. Ravikumar
  • Raymond Riezman
  • Michael Sposi

Abstract

In this paper we show that price equalization alone is not sufficient to establish that there are no barriers to international trade. There are many barrier combinations that deliver price equalization, but each combination implies a different volume of trade. Therefore, in order to make statements about trade barriers it is necessary to know the trade flows. We demonstrate this first theoretically in a simple two-country model. We then extend the result quantitatively to a multicountry model with two sectors. We show that for the case of capital goods trade, barriers have to be large in order to be consistent with the observed trade flows. Our model also implies that capital goods prices look similar across countries, an implication that is consistent with data. Zero barriers to trade in capital goods will deliver price equalization in capital goods, but cannot reproduce the observed trade flows in our model.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper with number 129.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:129

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Keywords: International trade;

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  1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  2. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-39, December.
  3. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 562-585, June.
  4. Piyusha Mutreja & B. Ravikumar & Raymond Riezman & Michael Sposi, 2012. "Price equalization does not imply free trade," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 129, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  5. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  6. University of Iowa & Michael E. Waugh, 2007. "International Trade and Income Differences," 2007 Meeting Papers 492, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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Cited by:
  1. Mutreja, Piyusha & Ravikumar, B. & Sposi, Michael J., 2014. "Capital goods trade and economic development," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 183, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. Mutreja, Piyusha & Ravikumar, B. & Sposi, Michael J., 2014. "Capital goods trade and economic development," Working Papers 2014-12, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Piyusha Mutreja & B. Ravikumar & Raymond Riezman & Michael Sposi, 2012. "Price equalization does not imply free trade," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 129, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

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