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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4635
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  1. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Baldwin, Richard & Forslid, Rikard, 2004. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4635, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 150-154, May.
  4. 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.
  5. Catia Montagna, 1998. "Efficiency Gaps, Love of Variety and International Trade," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 090, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  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. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 11393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc J & Yeaple, Stephen R, 2003. "Export versus FDI," CEPR Discussion Papers 3741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Cabral, Luís M B & Mata, José, 2001. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 3045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-Francois Tissse, 1999. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-65, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  11. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2006. "Trade and Growth with Heterogenous Firms," NBER Working Papers 12326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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.
  14. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2006. "Heterogeneous firms, agglomeration and economic geography: spatial selection and sorting," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 323-346, June.
  15. Wang, Z.K. & Winters, L.A., 1992. "The Trading Potential of Eastern Europe," Discussion Papers 92-21, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  16. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Falling Trade Costs, Heterogeneous Firms and Industry Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0585, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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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