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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
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. Demidova, Svetlana & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2009. "Trade policy under firm-level heterogeneity in a small economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 100-112, June.
  3. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Feenstra, Robert C, 1988. "Quality Change under Trade Restraints in Japanese Autos," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 131-46, February.
  5. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2002. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," NBER Working Papers 9023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2006. "How Important is the New Goods Margin in International Trade?," 2006 Meeting Papers 733, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:6:y:2005:i:8:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. 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.
  10. Costas Arkolakis & Svetlana Demidova & Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2008. "Endogenous Variety and the Gains from Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 444-50, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Tibor Besedes & Thomas J. Prusa, 2003. "On the Duration of Trade," NBER Working Papers 9936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  15. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  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. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  18. 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.
  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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