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Free trade versus strategic trade as a choice between two 'second best' policies: A symmetric versus asymmetric information analysis

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  • Delia Ionascu
  • Kresimir zigic

Abstract

We analyse the following policy dilemma: strategic trade policy versus free trade when the domestic government is bound to intervene only after the domestic firm's strategic variable in the form of R&D investment is chosen, and when the information can be either symmetric or asymmetric. The novel feature of our model is that the information asymmetry stems from the assumption that the government may not a priori know the true mode of competition. The intervention in the above set-up allows the domestic firm to manipulate the domestic government and results in a socially inefficient choice of the strategic variable. However, commitment to free trade leads to forgoing the benefits from profit-shifting. Yet, from the social point of view, free trade may be optimal even under the assumption of symmetric information. Due to costly signalling, this result is reinforced in the case of asymmetric information.

Suggested Citation

  • Delia Ionascu & Kresimir zigic, 2005. "Free trade versus strategic trade as a choice between two 'second best' policies: A symmetric versus asymmetric information analysis," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 417-446.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intecj:v:19:y:2005:i:3:p:417-446
    DOI: 10.1080/10168730500199640
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Strategic trade policy; free trade; first-best versus second-best policy; government's commitment; signalling;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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