IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Discrete plant-location decisions in an applied general-equilibrium model of trade liberalization


  • James Markusen
  • Thomas Rutherford


Theoretical and applied work in industrial-organization approaches to international trade typically assume either that there are fixed numbers of firms, or that there is free entry and exit with a continuum of firms. This paper makes a first step toward a more realistic approach in which firms face discrete choices about the numbers and locations of their plants. The model is applied to the North American auto industry in the context of the draft North American Free Trade Agreement. Results include: (1) production appears to be excessively geographically diversified initially; (2) autos are produced in fewer locations as trade barriers are lowered; (3) a 'non-monotonicity' case is produced in which a plant is first closed and then reopened as trade barriers are progressively lowered; (4) an example of the misleading nature of marginalist analysis is presented in which plants in Canada and Mexico increase production when locations are fixed but closed down when locations are endogenous and optimized.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • James Markusen & Thomas Rutherford, 1994. "Discrete plant-location decisions in an applied general-equilibrium model of trade liberalization," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(1), pages 133-151, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:130:y:1994:i:1:p:133-151
    DOI: 10.1007/BF02706013

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R & D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 707-722.
    2. Markusen, James R., 1981. "Trade and the gains from trade with imperfect competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 531-551, November.
    3. Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Markusen, James R. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 1994. "Complementarity and increasing returns in intermediate inputs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 101-119, October.
    4. Markusen, James R. & Rutherford, Thomas F. & Hunter, Linda, 1995. "Trade liberalization in a multinational-dominated industry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 95-117, February.
    5. Herbert E. Scarf, 1990. "Mathematical Programming and Economic Theory," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 38(3), pages 377-385, June.
    6. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
    7. Steven Berry & Vittorio Grilli & F. Lopez-de-Silanes, 1992. "The Automobile Industry and The Mexico-Us Free Trade Agreement," NBER Working Papers 4152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Horstmann, Ignatius J. & Markusen, James R., 1986. "Up the average cost curve: Inefficient entry and the new protectionism," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3-4), pages 225-247, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Localization Economies, Vertical Organization, and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1266-1278, December.
    2. Magdalena Olczyk, 2016. "A systematic retrieval of international competitiveness literature: a bibliometric study," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 6(3), pages 429-457, December.

    More about this item


    F12; F23;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:130:y:1994:i:1:p:133-151. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.