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Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence

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  • Richard Baldwin
  • James Harrigan

Abstract

Bilateral, product-level data exhibit a number of strong patterns that can be used to evaluate international trade theories, notably the spatial incidence of "export zeros" (correlated with distance and importer size), and of export unit values (positively related to distance). We show that leading theoretical trade models fail to explain at least some of these facts, and propose a variant of the Melitz model that can account for all the facts. In our model, high quality firms are the most competitive, with heterogeneous quality increasing with firms' heterogeneous cost. (JEL F11, F14, F40)

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:60-88
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.3.2.60
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General

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