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Inattentive importers

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  • Dasgupta, Kunal
  • Mondria, Jordi

Abstract

Information frictions prevent importers from observing the price of a good in every market. In this paper, we seek to explain how the presence of such frictions shapes the flow of goods between countries. To this end, we introduce rationally inattentive importers in a multi-country Ricardian trade model. The amount of information importers process is endogenous and reacts to changes in observable trade costs. Unlike traditional trade costs, changes in information processing costs have non-monotonic and asymmetric effects on bilateral trade flows. The model generates a novel prediction regarding the relationship between information processing costs and concentration of imports that finds support in the data. We calibrate the model, perform counterfactuals and show quantitatively how the response of trade flows to exogenous trade shocks gets magnified under inattention.

Suggested Citation

  • Dasgupta, Kunal & Mondria, Jordi, 2018. "Inattentive importers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 150-165.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:112:y:2018:i:c:p:150-165
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2018.03.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Tan, Yong, 2016. "The Impact of Demand Shocks on Firm-Level Offshoring Behavior: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 73734, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Thomas Chaney, 2013. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: An Explanation," NBER Working Papers 19285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hu, Cui & Tan, Yong, 2017. "Learning to Import From Neighbors," MPRA Paper 78108, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Wilson, Chris M., 2016. "Information Matters: A Theoretical Comparison of Some Cross-Border Trade Barriers," EconStor Preprints 130180, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    5. Brei, Michael & von Peter, Goetz, 2018. "The distance effect in banking and trade," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 116-137.
    6. Mr�zov�, Monika & Neary, J Peter & Parenti, Mathieu, 2017. "Sales and Markup Dispersion: Theory and Empirics," CEPR Discussion Papers 12044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Peter Neary & Monika Mrázová & Mathieu Parenti, 2015. "Technology, Demand, And The Size Distribution Of Firms," Economics Series Working Papers 774, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. Wilson, Chris M., 2016. "Information matters: A theoretical comparison of some cross-border trade barriers," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 52-60.
    9. Thomas Chaney, 2018. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: an Explanation," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/3pucspchqi8, Sciences Po.
    10. Chris M Wilson, 2015. "Information Matters: Comparing Some Theoretical Determinants of Border Effects in Trade," Discussion Paper Series 2015_02, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Feb 2015.
    11. Tan, Yong & Shao, Yuchen, 2016. "The Impact of Demand Shocks on Firm-Level Offshoring Behavior: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 68728, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rational inattention; Information costs; Magnification effect;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F19 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Other
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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