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The International Strategy of Firms: the Role of Endogenous Product Differentiation

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  • Pierre Blanchard
  • Carl Gaigné
  • Claude Mathieu

Abstract

We study the impact of trade liberalization on the international strategy of firms (to export and/or invest abroad as well as the number of products to be produced and exported) when product differentiation is endogenous. By considering product differentiation as a strategic variable, our analysis sheds new light on the impact of trade barriers on the decision to produce abroad and on the choice of product range, in accordance with recent empirical evidence. Indeed, we show that, even though technology exhibits the same productivity for each variety, firms drop some varieties with trade integration. In addition, our results reveal that, contrary to the standard theoretical literature, the relationship between the decision to export and trade costs is non-linear. When trade costs are relatively high, each firm export and is multi-product. Then, when trade costs take intermediate values, firms may invest abroad and the choice of producing abroad results from a prisoner's dilemma game. Finally, when trade costs are low, firms export but become single-product.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by INRA UMR SMART in its series Working Papers SMART - LERECO with number 10-02.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:rae:wpaper:201002

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Keywords: Foreign direct investment; exports; multi-product competition; endogenous differentiation product; trade integration;

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References

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  1. James Brander & Jonathan Eaton, 1982. "Product Line Rivalry," Working Papers 519, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Magnus Blomstrom & Robert E. Lipsey & Ksenia Kulchycky, 1988. "U.S. and Swedish Direct Investment and Exports," NBER Chapters, in: Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, pages 257-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Motta, Massimo, 1994. "International trade and investments in a vertically differentiated industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 179-196, June.
  4. Thierry Mayer & Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2011. "Market Size, Competition, and the Product Mix of Exporters," NBER Working Papers 16959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Eckel, Carsten & Neary, J. P., 2010. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20525, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  7. Antoine Berthou & Lionel Fontagné, 2013. "How do Multiproduct Exporters React to a Change in Trade Costs?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 326-353, 04.
  8. Martinez-Giralt, Xavier & Neven, Damien J, 1988. "Can Price Competition Dominate Market Segmentation?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 431-42, June.
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  10. Manez, J.A. & Waterson, M., 2001. "Multiproduct Firms and Product Differentiation: a Survey," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 594, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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  12. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, October.
  13. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Alan Rugman, 1987. "Multinationals and trade in services: A transaction cost approach," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 123(4), pages 651-667, December.
  16. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Blonigen, Bruce A., 2001. "In search of substitution between foreign production and exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 81-104, February.
  18. Emmanuel PETIT, 1997. "Market Integration, Scale Economies and Labor Market Imperfection in an Applied General Equilibrium Model," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 47, pages 197-226.
  19. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2001. "Overseas Investment and Firm Exports," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 108-22, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Pierre Blanchard & Carl Gaigné & Claude Mathieu, 2012. "Trade Costs and International Strategy of Firms: the Role of Endogenous Product Differentiation," Cahiers de recherche CREATE 2012-2, CREATE.
  2. Pierre Blanchard & Carl Gaigné & Claude Mathieu, 2012. "Trade costs and international strategy of firms: the role of endogenous product differentiation," Working Papers 171833, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.

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