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Armington Meets Melitz: Introducing Firm Heterogeneity in a Global CGE Model of Trade


  • Zhai, Fan

    () (Asian Development Bank Institute)


Traditional CGE models with Armington assumption fail to capture the extensive margin of trade, thereby underestimate the trade and welfare effects of trade opening. To address this problem, this paper introduces the Melitz (2003) theoretical framework with firm heterogeneity and fixed exporting costs into a global CGE model. Some illustrative simulations show that the introduction of firm heterogeneity improves the ability of CGE model to capture the trade expansion and welfare effects of trade liberalization. Under the case of global manufacturing tariff cut, the estimated gains in welfare and exports are more than double that obtained from the standard Armington CGE model. Sensitivity analysis indicates that model results are sensitive to the shape parameters of firm productivity distribution, suggesting the need of further empirical work to estimate the degree of firm heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhai, Fan, 2008. "Armington Meets Melitz: Introducing Firm Heterogeneity in a Global CGE Model of Trade," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 23, pages 575-604.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:integr:0446

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rod Tyers & Jane Golley, 2006. "China's Growth to 2030: Demographic Change and the Labour Supply Constraint," PGDA Working Papers 1106, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
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    More about this item


    firm heterogeneity; CGE; trade liberalization;

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation


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