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International Trade, Offshoring and Heterogeneous Firms

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Author Info

  • Richard Baldwin

    (Graduate Institute, Geneva)

  • Toshihiro Okubo

    (Faculty of Economics, Keio University)

Abstract

Recent trade models determine the equilibrium distribution of firm-level efficiency endogenously and show that freer trade shifts the distribution towards higher average productivity due to entry and exit of firms. These models ignore the possibility that freer trade also alters the firm-size distribution via international firm migration (offshoring); firms must, by assumption, produce in their 'birth nation.' We show that when firms are allowed to switch locations, new productivity effects arise. Freer trade induces the most efficient small-nation firms to move to the large nation. The big country gets an 'extra helping' of the most efficient firms while the small nation's firm-size distribution is truncated on both ends. This reinforces the big-nation productivity gain while reducing or even reversing the small-nation productivity gain. The small nation is nevertheless better off allowing firm migration.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program in its series Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series with number 2012-014.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kei:dpaper:2012-014

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  1. Forslid, Rikard & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2011. "On the development strategy of countries of intermediate size - An analysis of heterogenous firms in a multiregion framework," CEPR Discussion Papers 8178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Toshihiro Okubo & Pierre M. Picard & Jacques-François Thisse, 2008. "The spatial selection of heterogeneous firms," Discussion Paper Series 229, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  4. Redding, Stephen J., 2010. "Theories of Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7961, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Svetlana Demidova, 2008. "Productivity Improvements And Falling Trade Costs: Boon Or Bane?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1437-1462, November.
  6. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  7. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2006. "Heterogeneous firms, agglomeration and economic geography: spatial selection and sorting," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 323-346, June.
  8. Arnold, Jens Matthias & Hussinger, Katrin, 2005. "Exports versus FDI in German Manufacturing: Firm Performance and Participation in International Markets," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-73, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
  10. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
  11. Keith Head & John Ries, 2003. "Heterogeneity and the FDI versus Export Decision of Japanese Manufacturers," NBER Working Papers 10052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Baldwin, Richard & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2006. "Agglomeration, Offshoring and Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5663, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Okubo, Toshihiro, 2009. "Trade liberalisation and agglomeration with firm heterogeneity: Forward and backward linkages," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 530-541, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Kym Anderson & Anna Strutt, 2012. "Agriculture and Food Security in Asia by 2030," Development Economics Working Papers 23309, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2012. "Asia’s Growth, the Changing Geography of World Trade, and Food Security: Projections to 2030," CEPR Discussion Papers 8950, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2014. "Tax Competition with Heterogeneous Firms," CAMA Working Papers 2014-36, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  4. Kym Anderson & Anna Strutt, 2013. "Emerging Economies, Productivity Growth, and Trade with Resource-Rich Economies by 2030," Departmental Working Papers 2013-17, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  5. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2012. "The changing geography of world trade: Projections to 2030," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 303-323.
  6. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2012. "Global food markets by 2030: What roles for farm TFP growth and trade policies?," 2012 Conference (56th), February 7-10, 2012, Freemantle, Australia 124192, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  7. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2013. "South America’s Contribution to World Food Markets: GTAP Projections to 2030," Working Papers 145369, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  8. Kym Anderson, 2012. "Costing Global Trade Barriers, 1900 to 2050," Departmental Working Papers 2012-08, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.

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