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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
Contact details of provider: Postal: Voie du Roman Pays 34, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
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  1. Okubo, Toshihiro & Picard, Pierre M. & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2010. "The spatial selection of heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 230-237, November.
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  5. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2003. "Agglomeration and Economic Geography," CEPR Discussion Papers 3838, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Okubo, Toshihiro & Picard, Pierre M., 2008. "Firms’ location Under taste and demand heterogeneity," CORE Discussion Papers 2008071, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Baldwin, Richard & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2005. "Trade and Growth with Heterogeneous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4965, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  12. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Amit Khandelwal, 2009. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," NBER Working Papers 15178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
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  17. Tybout, James R. & Westbrook, M. Daniel, 1995. "Trade liberalization and the dimensions of efficiency change in Mexican manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 53-78, August.
  18. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1997. "Quality and trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-15, June.
  19. Richard Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2005. "Heterogeneous Firms, Agglomeration and Economic Geography: Spatial Selection and Sorting," NBER Working Papers 11650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
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  25. Behrens, Kristian, 2005. "How endogenous asymmetries in interregional market access trigger regional divergence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 471-492, September.
  26. PICARD, Pierre M. & OKUBO, Toshihiro, . "Firms' locations under demand heterogeneity," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2459, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  27. repec:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:1:p:379-436 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Richard Baldwin, 2005. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade: Testable and Untestable Properties of the Melitz Model," NBER Working Papers 11471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2009. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," NBER Working Papers 15342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Greenaway, David & Hine, Robert C & Milner, Chris, 1995. "Vertical and Horizontal Intra-industry Trade: A Cross Industry Analysis for the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1505-18, November.
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  32. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  33. 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.
  34. Robert E. Baldwin, 1984. "Trade Policy, Income, and Employment," NBER Working Papers 1321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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