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International trade, risk taking and welfare

  • Vannoorenberghe, G.

This paper shows that the gains from opening up to international trade are smaller when firms do not fully internalize downward risk. I develop a general equilibrium model with two key assumptions. First, when faced with adverse productivity shocks, employers can lay off workers without fully paying the social costs of their layoff decisions, a common feature of many institutions. Second, when opening to international trade, the elasticity of demand perceived by an industry increases. In this setup, I show that international trade induces firms to take more risk and (i) raises the equilibrium unemployment rate, (ii) increases the volatility of sectoral sales and (iii) increases welfare proportionately less than in the absence of the externality. Inducing firms to internalize the costs of layoff (Blanchard and Tirole, 2003) therefore appears even more important in a globalized world.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 363-374

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:92:y:2014:i:2:p:363-374
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2013.12.003
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  1. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Alejandro Cunat & Marc J. Melitz, 2007. "Volatility, labor market flexibility, and the pattern of comparative advantage," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19714, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Blanchard, Olivier & Tirole, Jean, 2006. "The Joint Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection: A First Pass," IDEI Working Papers 258, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  13. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  14. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Intra-industry trade under perfect monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 151-175, May.
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  17. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
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