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Trade Liberalization and Welfare Inequality: A Demand-Based Approach

  • Alexander Tarasov

There is strong evidence suggesting that different income groups consume different bundles of goods. Hence, trade liberalization can affect welfare inequality via changes in the relative prices of goods consumed by different income groups (the price effect). In this paper, I develop a framework that enables us to explore the role of the price effect in determining welfare inequality. I find that trade liberalization does benefit some income classes more than others. In particular, I show that the relative welfare of the rich with respect to that of the poor has a hump shape as a function of trade costs.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01724.x
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 1296-1317

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:114:y:2012:i:4:p:1296-1317
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  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1988. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 2709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tarasov Alexander, 2009. "Income Distribution, Market Structure, and Individual Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-39, December.
  3. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-11, December.
  4. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1999. "A Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods under Non-homothetic Preferences: Demand Complementarities, Income Distribution, and North-South Trade," Discussion Papers 1241, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  7. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  8. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum & Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2009. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," NBER Working Papers 15329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
  10. Devashish Mitra & Vitor Trindade, 2003. "Inequality and Trade," NBER Working Papers 10087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Stokey, Nancy L, 1991. "The Volume and Composition of Trade between Rich and Poor Countries," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 63-80, January.
  12. P Ramezzana, 2000. "Per Capita Income Demand for Variety, and International Trade: Linder Reconsidered," CEP Discussion Papers dp0460, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  14. Stibora, Joachim & de Vaal, Albert, 2007. "Trade policy in a Ricardian model with a continuum of goods under nonhomothetic preferences," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 350-377, September.
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