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Why are Preferential Trade Agreements Regional? Increasing Returns, Multinationals and the Geography of Free Trade Agreements

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Author Info

  • Rodney D. Ludema

    (Georgetown University)

Abstract

This paper uses a model of horizontal multinational enterprises to explore the relationship between transportation costs and trade policy cooperation. Tariffs have the effect of attracting foreign direct investment to the benefit of consumers in the host country. As transport costs fall, the incentive to impose tariffs falls and the benefits to cooperation rise. Thus, in a repeated game in which cooperation is limited by a self-enforcement constraint, a reduction in transport costs facilitates free trade. This logic is applied to a three-country model to examine cross-sectional relationships. It is found that if any country is too distant from the others, then global free trade is not attainable. Rather, if two of the countries are within a critical distance of each other and distant from the third country, then the unique outcome is an exclusive free trade agreement between the two adjacent countries. Thus, the model predicts a strong regional bias in preferential trade agreements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 9903002.

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Date of creation: 18 Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:9903002

Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP;
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: regionalism; trade agreements; multinational enterprises; economic geography;

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References

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  1. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Multinational Corporations and Trade with a Trade-Off Between Proximity and Concentration," NBER Working Papers 4269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert Staiger, 1994. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation During the Formation of Customs Unions," International Trade 9410002, EconWPA.
  3. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1988. "A Theory of Managed Trade," NBER Working Papers 2756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bond, E.W. & Syropoulos, C., 1993. "Trading Blocs and the Sustainability of Inte-regional Cooperation," Papers 5-93-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  5. Venables, Anthony J, 1987. "Trade and Trade Policy with Differentiated Products: A Chamberlinian-Ricardian Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 700-717, September.
  6. Brainard, S Lael, 1997. "An Empirical Assessment of the Proximity-Concentration Trade-off between Multinational Sales and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 520-44, September.
  7. Smith, Alasdair, 1987. "Strategic investment, multinational corporations and trade policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 89-96.
  8. Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
  9. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Baldwin, Richard E. & Venables, Anthony J., 1995. "Regional economic integration," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1597-1644 Elsevier.
  12. Venables, Anthony J., 1985. "Trade and trade policy with imperfect competition: The case of identical products and free entry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-19, August.
  13. Staiger, Robert W., 1995. "International rules and institutions for trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1495-1551 Elsevier.
  14. Paul Krugman, 1991. "The move toward free trade zones," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 7-58.
  15. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1993. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation During the Formation of Free Trade Areas," Discussion Papers 1048, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Motta, Massimo, 1992. "Multinational firms and the tariff-jumping argument : A game theoretic analysis with some unconventional conclusions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1557-1571, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Ludema, Rodney D., 2002. "Increasing returns, multinationals and geography of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 329-358, March.

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