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Product heterogeneity, cross-country taste differences, and the growth of world trade

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  • Auer, Raphael A.

Abstract

This paper extends the analysis of the “home market” effect in Krugman (1980) to a flexible demand structure and examines the dynamic effects of trade liberalization. I first develop a model in which consumers are heterogeneous in their valuations of product attributes and firms offer goods of heterogeneous attribute levels. With international trade in the presence of cross-country taste differences, consumption is home-biased in the immediate aftermath of liberalization. Once industries specialize, the volume of trade grows and so do the gains from liberalization. In the long-run equilibrium with open markets, the volume of trade is diminished by the existence of cross-country taste differences only if countries specialize completely. I then show that the adaptation of industrial composition to the demand structure of the European common market was associated with growing within-European trade in the automotive industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Auer, Raphael A., 2017. "Product heterogeneity, cross-country taste differences, and the growth of world trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 1-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:1-27
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.05.010
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    Cited by:

    1. Dvir, Eyal & Strasser, Georg, 2018. "Does marketing widen borders? Cross-country price dispersion in the European car market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 134-149.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intra-industry trade; Monopolistic competition; Increasing returns; Home-market effect; Product heterogeneity; Industrial structure; Firm dynamics; European economic integration;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure

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