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Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Firms

  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • Stephen Redding
  • Peter K. Schott

This paper presents a model of international trade that features heterogeneous firms, relativeendowment differences across countries, and consumer taste for variety. The paper demonstrates thatfirm reactions to trade liberalization generate endogenous Ricardian productivity responses at theindustry level that magnify countries' comparative advantage. Focusing on the wide range of firmlevelreactions to falling trade costs, the model also shows that, as trade costs fall, firms incomparative advantage industries are more likely to export, that relative firm size and the relativenumber of firms increases more in comparative advantage industries and that job turnover is higher incomparative advantage industries than in comparative disadvantage industries.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0643.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0643
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  1. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Survival of the best fit: Exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 219-237, January.
  2. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  5. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-98, November.
  7. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within U.S. Manufacturing Plants, 1963-1986," NBER Working Papers 3722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "Learning-by-Exporting" Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," NBER Working Papers 5715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  11. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  12. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
  13. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  15. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
  16. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
  17. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-product Versus Within-product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 646-677, May.
  18. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 1996. "The Theory of Endowment, Intra-Industry, and Multinational Trade," NBER Working Papers 5529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Elhanan Helpman & Paul Krugman, 1987. "Market Structure and Foreign Trade: Increasing Returns, Imperfect Competition, and the International Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026258087x, June.
  20. 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.
  21. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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