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Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Firms

  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • Stephen J. Redding
  • Peter K. Schott

This paper examines how country, industry, and firm characteristics interact in general equilibrium to determine nations' responses to trade liberalization. When firms possess heterogeneous productivity, countries differ in relative factor abundance, and industries vary in factor intensity, falling trade costs induce reallocations of resources both within and across industries and countries. These reallocations generate substantial job turnover in all sectors, spur relatively more creative destruction in comparative advantage industries than in comparative disadvantage industries, and magnify ex ante comparative advantage to create additional welfare gains from trade. The improvements in aggregate productivity as countries liberalize dampen and can even reverse the real-wage losses of scarce factors. Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 74 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 31-66

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:1:p:31-66
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  1. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning By Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence From Colombia, Mexico, And Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947, August.
  2. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Survival of the best fit: exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20028, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  6. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  7. repec:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:1:p:245-76 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J, 1996. "The Theory of Endowment, Intra-Industry and Multinational Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 1341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. 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.
  10. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  12. Elhanan Helpman & Paul Krugman, 1987. "Market Structure and Foreign Trade: Increasing Returns, Imperfect Competition, and the International Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026258087x, June.
  13. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  15. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  16. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  18. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  19. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. repec:oup:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:4:p:671-98 is not listed on IDEAS
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  22. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within U.S. Manufacturing Plants, 1963-1986," NBER Working Papers 3722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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