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Vertical specialization and the border effect puzzle

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  • Kei-Mu Yi

Abstract

A large body of empirical research finds that a pair of regions within a country tends to trade 10 to 20 times as much as an otherwise identical pair of regions across countries. In the context of the standard trade models, the large “border effect” is problematic, because it is consistent only with high elasticities of substitution between goods and/or high unobserved national border barriers. The author proposes a resolution to this puzzle based on vertical specialization, which occurs when regions or countries specialize only in particular stages of a good’s production sequence. The author develops a Ricardian model of intra-national and international trade, and shows how endogenous vertical specialization magnifies the effects of border barriers such as tariffs. He calibrates the model to match relative wages, trade shares, and vertical specialization for the U.S. and Canada. The model implies a much smaller border barrier and border effect than previous estimates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 05-24.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:05-24

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Keywords: Consumption (Economics) ; Trade;

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References

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  1. Chen, Natalie, 2004. "Intra-national versus international trade in the European Union: why do national borders matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 93-118, May.
  2. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  3. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
  4. Carolyn L. Evans, 2003. "The Economic Significance of National Border Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1291-1312, September.
  5. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren & Mayer, Thierry, 2005. "The trade-creating effects of business and social networks: evidence from France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-29, May.
  6. Carolyn L. Evans, 2001. "Border effects and the availability of domestic products abroad," Staff Reports 127, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  8. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  9. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  10. Volker Nitsch, 2000. "National borders and international trade: evidence from the European Union," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1091-1105, November.
  11. Russell H. Hillberry, 2002. "Aggregation bias, compositional change, and the border effect," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(3), pages 517-530, August.
  12. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  13. Thierry Mayer & Keith Head, 2002. "Illusory Border Effects: Distance Mismeasurement Inflates Estimates of Home Bias in Trade," Working Papers 2002-01, CEPII research center.
  14. Anderson, Michael A & Smith, Stephen L S, 1999. "Do National Borders Really Matter? Canada-US Regional Trade Reconsidered," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 219-27, May.
  15. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
  16. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. 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.
  20. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  21. John F. Helliwell & Geneviève Verdier, 2001. "Measuring internal trade distances: a new method applied to estimate provincial border effects in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1024-1041, November.
  22. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Intra-National versus International Trade: How Stubborn are Nations in Global Integration?," NBER Working Papers 5531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Kei-Mu Yi, 2000. "Can vertical specialization explain the growth of world trade?," Staff Reports 96, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  24. David Hummels & Dana Rapoport & Kei-Mu Yi, 1998. "Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 79-99.
  25. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
  26. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "A Spatial Theory of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1464-1491, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "A Spatial Theory of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1464-1491, December.
  2. Liu, Xiaoyun & Whalley, John & Xin, Xian, 2010. "Non-tradable goods and the border effect puzzle," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 909-914, September.
  3. Whalley, John & Xin, Xian, 2009. "Home and regional biases and border effects in Armington type models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 309-319, March.

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