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Firm heterogeneity and comparative advantage: the response of French firms to Turkey's entry in the European Customs Union

  • Ines Buono

    ()

    (Bank of Italy, Economics and International Relations)

I analyse the effects of a reduction in the tariffs of a trading partner on the exports of domestic firms. More precisely, I focus on how cross-industry differences in factor intensities and within-industry differences in firm productivities shape the response of the extensive (decision to export) and the intensive (exported volumes per firm) margins of exports. I examine the response of French firms to the reduction of Turkish import tariffs that followed the entry of Turkey into the European Customs Union in 1996. A reduction in tariffs increases the probability to export and, surprisingly, the effect is stronger in comparatively disadvantaged sectors. I provide a possible explanation using a partial equilibrium model which includes firm-level heterogeneity and sector-level comparative advantage. In this model, as trade partner tariffs fall, the productivity threshold separating exporters from non-exporters decreases more in comparatively disadvantaged sectors. This occurs because, even if the productivity threshold to enter the export market falls in the same proportion as tariffs in all sectors, its level was initially higher in comparatively disadvantaged ones.

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File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/temi-discussione/2009/2009-0715/en_tema_715.pdf
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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 715.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_715_09
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0795, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting trade: firms, industries, and export destinations," Staff Report 332, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  4. Cuñat, Alejandro & Melitz, Marc J, 2007. "Volatility, Labour Market Flexibility, and the Pattern of Comparative Advantage," CEPR Discussion Papers 6297, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 31-66.
  7. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
  8. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  9. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  10. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 802, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade Liberalization, Exports and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean Firms," 2009 Meeting Papers 1029, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Aw, B. -Y. & Hwang, A. R., 1995. "Productivity and the export market: A firm-level analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 313-332, August.
  13. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning By Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence From Colombia, Mexico, And Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947, August.
  14. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  15. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Schor, Adriana, 2004. "Heterogeneous productivity response to tariff reduction. Evidence from Brazilian manufacturing firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 373-396, December.
  17. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2004. "Why Some Firms Export," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 561-569, May.
  18. Paula Bustos, 2005. "The impact of trade liberalization on skill upgrading. Evidence from Argentina," Economics Working Papers 1189, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2011.
  19. Togan, Sübidey, 1997. "Opening up the Turkish Economy in the Context of the Customs Union with EU," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 12, pages 157-179.
  20. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2002. "Turkey and Europe: Undivided but not united," MPRA Paper 26928, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1980. "Heckscher- Ohlin Trade Theory with a Continuum of Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 203-24, September.
  22. 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.
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