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Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade

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  • Keith Head
  • John Ries

Abstract

We evaluate two alternative models of international trade in differentiated products. An increasing returns model where varieties are linked to firms predicts home market effects: increases in a country's share of demand cause disproportionate increases in its share of output. In contrast, a constant returns model with national product differentiation predicts a less than proportionate increase. We examine a panel of U.S. and Canadian manufacturing industries to test the models. Although we find support for either model, depending on whether we estimate based on within or between variation, the preponderance of the evidence supports national product differentiation.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Head & John Ries, 2001. "Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 858-876, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:4:p:858-876
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.4.858
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weder, Rolf, 1995. "Linking Absolute and Comparative Advantage to Intra-industry Trade Theory," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 342-354, October.
    2. H. Hanson, Gordon, 2005. "Market potential, increasing returns and geographic concentration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, September.
    3. Elhanan Helpman & Paul Krugman, 1987. "Market Structure and Foreign Trade: Increasing Returns, Imperfect Competition, and the International Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026258087x.
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    6. Feenstra, Robert & Markusen, James R. & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "Understanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods," CEPR Discussion Papers 2035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Market Access, Economic Geography, and Comparative Advantage: An Empirical Assessment," NBER Working Papers 6787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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