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Global Gains from Trade Liberalization

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

What has been the overall global welfare impact of the accession to the World Trade Organization of a large country like China, or the global welfare impact of the completion of the Uruguay round of GATT negotiations? Can we come up with a simple user-friendly formula to calculate the global welfare impact of the simultaneous trade liberalization of a number of countries? How sensitive is the answer to the assumption of the trade model? We find a striking answer to these questions. We find that, for a very broad class of models and settings, the global welfare impact of trade liberalization in a country, or a simultaneous liberalization of a number of countries, is given by the same simple formula. We find that the global welfare impact of the simultaneous trade liberalization of different countries only depends on two sets of statistics: (i) the ratio of the value of bilateral trade between each and every pair of trading partners and global income; and (ii) the change in exporting cost for each and every pair of trading partners. Most interestingly, the formula applies to a very broad class of models and settings, which include the general Ricardian model (including, for example, Anderson, 1979, and Eaton and Kortum, 2002), the models of Krugman (1980), Melitz (2003) and its extensions, and the extensions of these models to the multi-sectoral case, multi-factor production technology, multi-stage production, the existence of tradable intermediate goods and the existence of a large outside good sector in each country. We find that global welfare would have been 0.05% lower in the year 2008 if China had not gained accession to the WTO in 2001.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-03/cesifo1_wp3775.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3775.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3775
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  1. 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.
  2. R. Dornbusch & S. Fischer & P. A. Samuelson, 1976. "Comparative Advantage, Trade and Payments in a Ricardian Model With a Continuum of Goods," Working papers 178, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Davin Chor, 2008. "Unpacking Sources of Comparative Advantage: A Quantitative Approach," Working Papers 13-2008, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
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  8. Toshihiro Okubo, 2009. "Firm heterogeneity and Ricardian comparative advantage within and across sectors," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 533-559, March.
  9. Kei-Mu Yi, 2000. "Can vertical specialization explain the growth of world trade?," Staff Reports 96, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 14214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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.
  13. Edward J. Balistreri & Russell H. Hillberry & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2008. "Structural Estimation and Solution of International Trade Models with Heterogeneous Firms," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1056, The University of Melbourne.
  14. Balistreri, Edward J. & Hillberry, Russell H. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2010. "Trade and welfare: Does industrial organization matter?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 85-87, November.
  15. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  16. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Ralph Ossa, 2011. "A Global View of Productivity Growth in China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd10-166, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  17. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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