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Trade liberalization in a multinational-dominated industry: a theoretical and applied general equilibrium analysis

  • Linda Hunter
  • James R. Markusen
  • Thomas F. Rutherford

A theoretical model is developed and applied to the North American auto industry, motivated by the possibility of US-Mexico free trade. Special features of the model include (1) significant scale economies at the plant level, (2) imperfect competition among firms, (3) joint ownership of plants and production coordination across plants by each firm, (4) an (initial) ability of firms to segment markets, (5) a separate treatment of non-resident firms in determining oligopolistic markups. Using an applied GE model, we find that (A) the gains to Mexico are significant and the effects on the US and Canada are essentially zero following North American free trade if firms can continue to segment markets: (B) Because of the way that the North American multinationals determine markups, increased imports from Mexico do not result in a rationalization of US and Canadian production in the way it should if firms were strictly national. (C) Genuinely free trade for consumers (integrated markets) results in large gains for Mexico as the Mexican industry is forced to rationalize, while losses to the US and Canada are very small.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (1991)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 39-42

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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddpr:y:1991:p:39-42
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  1. Richard Harris, 1983. "Applied General Equilibrium Analysis of Small Open Economies with Scale Economies and Imperfect Competition," Working Papers 524, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Smith, Alasdair & Venables, Anthony J, 1988. "Completing the Internal Market in the European Community: Some Industry Simulations," CEPR Discussion Papers 233, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1988. "Trade policy with increasing returns and imperfect competition : Contradictory results from competing assumptions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3-4), pages 299-316, May.
  4. Drusilla Brown, 1989. "Market structure, the exchange rate, and pricing behavior by firms: Some evidence from computable general equilibrium trade models," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 441-463, September.
  5. Venables, Anthony J, 1988. "International Capacity Choice and National Market Games," CEPR Discussion Papers 277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Venables, Anthony J., 1985. "Trade and trade policy with imperfect competition: The case of identical products and free entry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-19, August.
  7. Venables, Anthony J., 1990. "The economic integration of oligopolistic markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 753-769, June.
  8. Randall Wigle, 1988. "General Equilibrium Evaluation of Canada-U.S. Trade Liberalization in a Global Context," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(3), pages 539-64, August.
  9. Markusen, James R & Wigle, Randall M, 1989. "Nash Equilibrium Tariffs for the United States and Canada: The Roles of Country Size, Scale Economies, and Capital Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 368-86, April.
  10. Norman, Victor D., 1990. "Assessing trade and welfare effects of trade liberalization : A comparison of alternative approaches to CGE modelling with imperfect competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 725-745, June.
  11. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
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