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Market Size, Trade, and Productivity

  • Marc J. Melitz
  • Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano

We develop a monopolistically competitive model of trade with firm heterogeneity—in terms of productivity differences—and endogenous differences in the "toughness" of competition across markets—in terms of the number and average productivity of competing firms. We analyse how these features vary across markets of different size that are not perfectly integrated through trade; we then study the effects of different trade liberalization policies. In our model, market size and trade affect the toughness of competition, which then feeds back into the selection of heterogeneous producers and exporters in that market. Aggregate productivity and average mark-ups thus respond to both the size of a market and the extent of its integration through trade (larger, more integrated markets exhibit higher productivity and lower mark-ups). Our model remains highly tractable, even when extended to a general framework with multiple asymmetric countries integrated to different extents through asymmetric trade costs. We believe this provides a useful modelling framework that is particularly well suited to the analysis of trade and regional integration policy scenarios in an environment with heterogeneous firms and endogenous mark-ups. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

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

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 295-316

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:1:p:295-316
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  1. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Trade costs, firms and productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 917-937, July.
  3. Chad Syverson, 2001. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Working Papers 01-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  7. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
  8. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse, 2002. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 409-436, May.
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  12. Aw, Bee Yan & Chung, Sukkyun & Roberts, Mark J, 2000. "Productivity and Turnover in the Export Market: Micro-level Evidence from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China)," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 65-90, January.
  13. 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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  15. Pierre-Philippe COMBES & Gilles DURANTON & Laurent GOBILLON & Diego PUGA & Sébastien ROUX, 2009. "The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities : Distinguishing Agglomeration from Firm Selection," Working Papers 2009-08, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  16. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "Learning-by-Exporting" Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," NBER Working Papers 5715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  24. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Weinstein, David E., 1992. "Competition and unilateral dumping," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3-4), pages 379-388, May.
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