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Technology, Market Structure and the Gains from Trade

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Abstract

We study the gains from trade in a new model with oligopolistic competition, firm heterogeneity, and innovation. Lowering trade costs reduces markups on domestic sales but increases markups on export sales, as firms do not pass the entire reduction in trade costs onto foreign consumers. Trade liberalisation can also reduce the number of firms competing in each market, thereby increasing markups on both domestic and export sales. For the majority of exporters, however, the pro- competitive effect prevails and their average markups decline. The incomplete pass-though and the reduction in the number of competitors instead dominate for top-exporters – the top 0.1% of firms – which end up increasing their markup. In a quantitative exercise we find that the aggregate effect of trade-induced markup changes is pro-competitive and accounts for the majority of the welfare gains from trade. Trade-induced changes in competition affect survival on domestic and export markets and firms’ decision to innovate. All exporters, and especially the top exporters, increase their market size after liberalisation which, in turn, encourages them to innovate more. Hence, top exporters contribute negatively to welfare gains by increasing their markups but positively by increasing innovation and productivity. Firms’ innovation response accounts for a small but non-negligible share of the welfare gains while the contribution of selection is U-shaped, being negative for small liberalisations and positive otherwise. A more globalised economy is therefore populated by larger, fewer and more innovative firms, each feature representing an important source of the gains from trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Giammario Impullitti & Omar Licandro & Pontus Rendahl, 2018. "Technology, Market Structure and the Gains from Trade," AMSE Working Papers 1839, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1839
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matias Covarrubias & Germán Gutiérrez & Thomas Philippon, 2019. "From Good to Bad Concentration? U.S. Industries over the Past 30 Years," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2019, volume 34, pages 1-46, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Tchoffo, Rodrigue & Ngouhouo, Ibrahim & Nkemgha, Guivis, 2020. "Trade Liberalization and Macroeconomic Performance in Cameroon: An Imperfect Competition Approach," MPRA Paper 98558, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 Feb 2020.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gains from trade; heterogeneous firms; oligopoly; innovation; endogenous markups; endogenous market structure;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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