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A Model of Trade with Ricardian Comparative Advantage and Intra-sectoral Firm Heterogeneity

Author

Listed:
  • Haichao Fan
  • Edwin L.-C. Lai
  • Han Steffan Qi

Abstract

In this paper, we merge the heterogenous firm trade model of Melitz (2003) with the Ricardian model of Dornbusch, Fisher and Samuelson (DFS 1977) to explain how the pattern of international specialization and trade is determined by the interaction of comparative advantage, economies of scale, country sizes and trade barriers. The model is able to capture the existence of inter-industry trade and intra-industry trade in a single unified framework. It explains how trade openness affects the pattern of international specialization and trade. It generalizes Melitz’s firm selection effect in the face of trade liberalization to a setting where the patterns of inter-industry trade and intra-industry are endogenous. Although opening to trade is unambiguously welfare-improving in both countries, trade liberalization can lead to an counter-Melitz effect in the larger country if it is insufficiently competitive in the sectors where it has the strongest comparative disadvantage but still produces. In this case, the operating productivity cutoff is lowered while the exporting cutoff increases in the face of trade liberalization. This is because the intersectoral resource allocation (IRA) effect dominates the Melitz effect in these sectors. Consequently, the larger country can lose from trade liberalization. Some hypotheses related to firms’ exporting behavior across sectors upon opening up to trade and upon trade liberalization are also derived. Analyses of firm-level data of Chinese manufacturing sectors confirm these hypotheses.

Suggested Citation

  • Haichao Fan & Edwin L.-C. Lai & Han Steffan Qi, 2011. "A Model of Trade with Ricardian Comparative Advantage and Intra-sectoral Firm Heterogeneity," CESifo Working Paper Series 3634, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3634
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3634.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-1721, September.
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
    3. Toshihiro Okubo, 2009. "Firm heterogeneity and Ricardian comparative advantage within and across sectors," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 38(3), pages 533-559, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    6. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-839, December.
    7. Brandt, Loren & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Yifan, 2012. "Creative accounting or creative destruction? Firm-level productivity growth in Chinese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 339-351.
    8. 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.
    9. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151-1199.
    10. 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.
    11. Svetlana Demidova, 2008. "Productivity Improvements And Falling Trade Costs: Boon Or Bane?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1437-1462, November.
    12. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Melitz, Marc J. & Redding, Stephen J., 2014. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Han QI & Haichao Fan & Edwin Lai, 2013. "Global Gains from Reduction of Trade Costs," 2013 Meeting Papers 1283, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Haichao Fan & Edwin L.-C. Lai & Han Steffan Qi, 2012. "Global Gains from Trade Liberalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 3775, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Vivian Yue & Jiandong Ju, 2013. "A Unified Model of Structural Adjustments and International Trade: Theory and Evidence from China," 2013 Meeting Papers 859, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Huang, Hanwei & Ju, Jiandong & Yue, Vivian Z., 2017. "Structural adjustments and international trade: theory and evidence from China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86601, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Hanwei Huang & Jiandong Ju & Vivian Z. Yue, 2017. "Structural Adjustments and International Trade: Theory and Evidence from China," CEP Discussion Papers dp1508, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Schetter, Ulrich, 2016. "Comparative Advantages with Product Complexity and Product Quality," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145933, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inter-industry trade; intra-industry trade; heterogeneous firms; trade liberalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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