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Trade Liberalization with Heterogenous Firms

  • Baldwin, Richard
  • Forslid, Rikard

This Paper details the positive and normative effects of reciprocal trade liberalization when firms have endogenously determined, heterogeneous productivity levels. We show that trade liberalization leads to: (i) an anti-variety effect (the number of varieties consumed drops) in contrast to the well-known Krugman variety effect; and (ii) a Stolper-Samuelson like result on factor rewards. We decompose the welfare impact into four partial effects. Three of these are unique to the model, namely, the Melitz anti-variety effect, the Melitz productivity effect, and the MacDonalisation effect. We show that the first effect tends to lower welfare while the other two tend to raise it. Overall, the four effects imply that the representative gains from trade liberalization. If we identify factor ownership with particular classes of consumers, we can say that freer trade implies unambiguous welfare gains for labourers and export-firm owners. Other firm owners gain if and only if spending on manufactured varieties is sufficiently high.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4635.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4635
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  1. Schmitt, Nicolas & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Economies of scale and the volume of intra-industry trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 127-132, December.
  2. Wang, Zhen Kun & Winters, L. Alan, 1991. "The Trading Potential of Eastern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 610, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Falling Trade Costs, Heterogeneous Firms, and Industry Dynamics," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm357, Yale School of Management.
  5. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  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. 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.
  8. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting trade: firms, industries, and export destinations," Staff Report 332, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Bee Yan Aw & Sukkyun Chung & Mark J. Roberts, 1998. "Productivity and the Decision to Export: Micro Evidence from Taiwan and South Korea," NBER Working Papers 6558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Baldwin, Richard E. & Robert-Nicoud, Frederic, 2008. "Trade and growth with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 21-34, January.
  11. OTTAVIANO, Gianmarco & TABUCHI , Takatoshi & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Agglomeration and trade revisited," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1553, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  13. 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.
  14. Richard E. Baldwin & Rikard Forslid, 2010. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogeneous Firms," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 161-176, 05.
  15. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," NBER Working Papers 9439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Lu�s M B Cabral & Jos� Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
  17. Montagna, Catia, 2001. "Efficiency Gaps, Love of Variety and International Trade," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(269), pages 27-44, February.
  18. Feenstra, Robert & Rose, Andrew K, 1997. "Putting Things in Order: Patterns of Trade Dynamics and Macroeconomics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1629, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. 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.
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