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Perfect competition and intra-industry trade

  • Cukrowski, Jacek
  • Aksen, Ernest

The paper presents a formal study of how risk aversion can be applied to analysis of international trade. It seeks to illustrate, amongst other things, that risk-averse firms operating in perfectly competitive markets with uncertainty of demand tend to diversify markets and that this provides the basis for international trade in identical commodities between identical countries. The paper argues that such trade may be welfare-improving, despite efficiency losses due to cross-hauling and transportation costs. Moreover, the analysis shows that reduction of tariff per unit of imported goods (e.g., due to the organization of custom unions) increases trade flows but does not necessarily improve total welfare. Therefore, in some particular cases, the use of sophisticated government intervention can lead to better outcomes than can free trade. 5

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 78 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 101-108

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:78:y:2003:i:1:p:101-108
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  1. Appelbaum, Elie & Katz, Eliakim, 1986. "Measures of Risk Aversion and Comparative Statics of Industry Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 524-29, June.
  2. James Brander, 1980. "Intra-Industry Trade in Identical Commodities," Working Papers 380, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Sandmo, Agnar, 1971. "On the Theory of the Competitive Firm under Price Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 65-73, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Leland, Hayne E, 1972. "Theory of the Firm Facing Uncertain Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 278-91, June.
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