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Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade


  • Chris Edmond
  • Virgiliu Midrigan
  • Daniel Yi Xu


We study the procompetitive gains from international trade in a quantitative model with endogenously variable markups. We find that trade can significantly reduce markup distortions if two conditions are satisfied: (i) there is extensive misallocation, and (ii) opening to trade exposes hitherto dominant producers to greater competitive pressure. We measure the extent to which these two conditions are satisfied in Taiwanese producer-level data. Versions of our model consistent with the Taiwanese data predict that opening up to trade strongly increases competition and reduces markup distortions by up to one-half, thus significantly reducing productivity losses due to misallocation. (JEL D43, F12, F14, L13, L60, O47)

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2015. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3183-3221, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:10:p:3183-3221 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20120549

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish, 1998. "Trade liberalization, market discipline and productivity growth: new evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 447-462, August.
    2. Michael Peters, 2011. "Heterogeneous Mark-Ups and Endogenous Misallocation," 2011 Meeting Papers 78, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Chen, Natalie & Imbs, Jean & Scott, Andrew, 2009. "The dynamics of trade and competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 50-62, February.
    4. Jan De Loecker & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit K. Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik, 2016. "Prices, Markups, and Trade Reform," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 445-510, March.
    5. Levinsohn, James, 1993. "Testing the imports-as-market-discipline hypothesis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 1-22, August.
    6. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
    7. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
    8. Epifani, Paolo & Gancia, Gino, 2011. "Trade, markup heterogeneity and misallocations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-13, January.
    9. Grubel, Herbert G & Lloyd, P J, 1971. "The Empirical Measurement of Intra- Industry Trade," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 47(120), pages 494-517, December.
    10. Allan Collard-Wexler & John Asker & Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies," NBER Working Papers 17175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
    13. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
    14. repec:pri:cepsud:231deloecker is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Richard Pomfret & Patricia Sourdin, 2010. "Why do trade costs vary?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(4), pages 709-730, December.
    16. Beatriz de Blas & Katheryn N. Russ, 2010. "Teams of rivals: endogenous markups in a Ricardian world," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 67, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    17. Robert C. Feenstra & David E. Weinstein, 2017. "Globalization, Markups, and US Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1040-1074.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence


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