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Large countries, small countries and the enlargement of trade blocs

  • Casella, Alessandra

Are there systematic forces such that countries of different sizes participating in a free trade bloc gain differently from the entry of new members? If economies of scale imply that firms located in large countries enjoy lower costs, then the gains from enlarging the bloc will fall disproportionately on small countries, because the entry of new members diminishes the importance of the domestic market and improves the small countries' relative competitiveness. The theoretical prediction is clear, but the empirical analysis of trade flows towards Spain and Portugal after their 1986 entry into the European Community yields mixed results. France and the United Kingdom appear to have lost market shares relative to the small countries in the Community, but the same is not true for Italy nor, to a lesser degree, for Germany.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 40 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 389-415

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:40:y:1996:i:2:p:389-415
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Wellisch, Dietmar & Wildasin, David E., 1996. "Decentralized income redistribution and immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 187-217, January.
  2. Brecher, Richard A & Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1981. "Foreign Ownership and the Theory of Trade and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 497-511, June.
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  5. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
  6. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Ernesto Stein & Shang-Jin Wei, 1998. "Continental Trading Blocs: Are They Natural or Supernatural?," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 91-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
  8. Basevi, Giorgio, 1970. "Domestic Demand and Ability to Export," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 330-37, March-Apr.
  9. Baldwin, Richard, 1993. "A Domino Theory of Regionalism," CEPR Discussion Papers 857, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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