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International Trade, Offshoring and Heterogeneous Firms

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  • Richard Baldwin
  • Toshihiro Okubo

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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16660.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16660

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  1. Okubo, Toshihiro & Picard, Pierre M. & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2010. "The spatial selection of heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 230-237, November.
  2. Rikard Forslid & Toshihiro Okubo, 2010. "On the development strategy of countries of intermediate size -An analysis of heterogenous firms in a multiregion framework," Discussion Paper Series DP2010-36, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  4. Demidova, Svetlana, 2005. "Productivity Improvements and Falling Trade Costs: Boon or Bane?," Working Papers 2-05-1, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Arnold, Jens Matthias & Hussinger, Katrin, 2006. "Exports versus FDI in German manufacturing: firm performance and participation in international markets," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,04, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  7. Eiichi Tomiura, 2005. "Foreign Outsourcing, Exporting, and FDI: A Productivity Comparison at the Firm Level," Discussion Paper Series 168, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  8. 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.
  9. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2003. "Heterogeneity and the FDI versus export decision of Japanese manufacturers," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 448-467, December.
  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. Stephen J. Redding, 2010. "Theories of Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," NBER Working Papers 16562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Baldwin, Richard & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2006. "Agglomeration, Offshoring and Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5663, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2009. "Tax Competition with Heterogeneous Firms," Discussion Paper Series 237, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  3. Kym Anderson & Anna Strutt, 2012. "Agriculture and Food Security in Asia by 2030," Macroeconomics Working Papers 23309, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Kym Anderson, 2012. "Costing Global Trade Barriers, 1900 to 2050," Departmental Working Papers 2012-08, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  6. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2013. "Emerging Economies, Productivity Growth, and Trade with Resource-Rich Economies by 2030," 2013 Conference (57th), February 5-8, 2013, Sydney, Australia 152134, 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. 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.

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