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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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090-9443(08)00051-3
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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622941

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  1. Demidova, Svetlana, 2005. "Productivity Improvements and Falling Trade Costs: Boon or Bane?," Working Papers 2-05-1, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Economics.
  2. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:6:y:2005:i:8:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Robert C. Feenstra, 1988. "Quality Change Under Trade Restraints in Japanese Autos," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 131-146.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2009. "How important is the new goods margin in international trade?," Staff Report 324, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Tibor Besedes & Thomas J. Prusa, 2003. "On the Duration of Trade," NBER Working Papers 9936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lucia Foster & John C. Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2001. "Aggregate Productivity Growth. Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 303-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Baldwin, Richard & Harrigan, James, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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).
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
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