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Product differentiation, firm heterogeneity and international trade: Exploring the Alchian-Allen effect

  • Echazu, Luciana

In a model of international trade with horizontally differentiated goods, increasing returns and monopolistically competitive markets, this paper proposes that the degree of differentiation in a product mix-defined as the ratio of the number of varieties to the total value of imports-can be regarded as another aspect of quality. Furthermore, this paper draws a parallel to the Alchian-Allen effect and shows that, when firms are heterogeneous in either fixed or variable costs, the degree of differentiation is increasing in per unit transportation costs.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 95-101

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Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:63:y:2009:i:2:p:95-101
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  1. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:103:y:1988:i:1:p:131-46 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1384-1402, December.
  3. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  4. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Svetlana Demidova & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2007. "Trade Policy under Firm-Level Heterogeneity in a Small Economy," NBER Working Papers 13688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Schmitt, Nicolas & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Economies of scale and the volume of intra-industry trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 127-132, December.
  9. Costas Arkolakis & Svetlana Demidova & Peter J. Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2008. "Endogenous Variety and the Gains from Trade," NBER Working Papers 13933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard Frensch, 2008. "Trade liberalisation, adoption costs, and import margins in CEEC and OECD trade," Working Papers 269, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  11. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
  12. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2013. "How Important Is the New Goods Margin in International Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 358 - 392.
  13. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  14. 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.
  15. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:6:y:2005:i:8:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Svetlana Demidova, 2008. "Productivity Improvements And Falling Trade Costs: Boon Or Bane?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1437-1462, November.
  17. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C.J. Krizan, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  19. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
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