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Trade Liberalization and Heterogeneous Firm Models: An Evaluation Using the Canada - US Free Trade Agreement

  • Holger Breinlich
  • Alejandro Cuñat

We examine the qualitative and quantitative predictions of a heterogeneous firm model à la Melitz (2003) in the context of the Canada - US Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) of 1989. We calibrate our model to the pre-trade liberalization stage, simulate the trade liberalization, and compute the resulting growth rates of Canadian industry productivity, exports and imports. We compare them with Trefler's (2004) estimates of the effects of CUSFTA. Our results show that our model performs well in replicating the qualitative aspects of Trefler's results. In particular, we correctly predict that US tariff cuts have smaller productivity enhancing effects than Canadian tariff reductions due to the entry of less efficient exporters. Quantitatively, the model tends to underpredict the impact of CUSFTA on growth rates of productivity, but overpredicts the increase in Canadian exports and imports. We discuss how liberalization-induced changes in the firm-level productivity distribution can reconcile the model with the evidence.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0975.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0975
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  2. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 599, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Holger Breinlich, 2006. "Trade liberalization and industrial restructuring through mergers and acquisitions," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19868, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2006. "Globalization and Endogenous Firm Scope," NBER Working Papers 12322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Del Gatto, Massimo & Mion, Giordano & Ottaviano, Gianmarco, 2006. "Trade Integration, Firm Selection and the Costs of Non-Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 5730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel S & Kramarz, Francis, 2009. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 7111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Miklos Koren & Roc Armenter, 2009. "Economies of Scale and the Size of Exporters," 2009 Meeting Papers 1269, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. 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.
  10. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521266550 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Baldwin, John R. & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2002. "Productivity Growth in Canada," Productivity Growth in Canada, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis, number stcb6e, December.
  13. Luca David Opromolla & Alfonso Irarrazabal, 2005. "Trade Reforms in a Global Competition Model: the Case of Chile," International Trade 0508007, EconWPA.
  14. Timothy J. Kehoe, 2003. "An evaluation of the performance of applied general equilibrium models of the impact of NAFTA," Staff Report 320, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144, 08.
  16. 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.
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