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Trade, economic geography and the choice of product quality

  • PICARD, Pierre M.


    (CREA, University of Luxembourg; Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, Belgium)

The present paper studies the effect of the choice of product quality on trade and location of firms. We discuss a model where consumers have preferences for the quality of a set of differentiated varieties. Firms do not only develop and sell manufacturing varieties in a monopolistic competitive market but also determine the quality level of their varieties by investing in research and development. We explore the price and quality equilibrium properties when firms are immobile. We then consider a footloose capital model where capital is allocated to the manufacturing firms in the region offering the highest return. We show that the larger region produces varieties of higher quality and that the quality gap increases with larger asymmetries in region sizes and with larger trade costs. Finally, the home market effect is mitigated when firms choose their product quality.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2013039.

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Date of creation: 23 Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2013039
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  1. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2004. "Agglomeration and economic geography," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 58, pages 2563-2608 Elsevier.
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  29. Toshihiro Okubo & Pierre M. Picard & Jacques-François Thisse, 2010. "On zero and asymmetric trade flows," CREA Discussion Paper Series 10-08, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
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