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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
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  1. DEL GATTO, Massimo & MION, Giordano & OTTAVIANO, Gianmarco I.P., 2006. "Trade integration, firm selection and the costs of non-Europe," CORE Discussion Papers 2006061, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  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. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 11393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Miklos Koren & Roc Armenter, 2009. "Economies of Scale and the Size of Exporters," 2009 Meeting Papers 1269, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  6. 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.
  7. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 802, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. 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.
  9. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," NBER Working Papers 10540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
  11. Baldwin, John R. & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2002. "Productivity Growth in Canada," Productivity Growth in Canada, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis, number stcb6e, December.
  12. Breinlich, Holger, 2008. "Trade liberalization and industrial restructuring through mergers and acquisitions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 254-266, December.
  13. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2006. "Globalization and Endogenous Firm Scope," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-015, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  14. 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.
  15. Luca David Opromolla & Alfonso Irarrazabal, 2005. "Trade Reforms in a Global Competition Model: the Case of Chile," International Trade 0508007, EconWPA.
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