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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1998, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Baldwin, Richard & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2005. "Trade and Growth with Heterogeneous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4965, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Wang, Z.K. & Winters, L.A., 1992. "The Trading Potential of Eastern Europe," Discussion Papers 92-21, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Falling trade costs, heterogeneous firms and industry dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20027, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Baldwin, Richard & Forslid, Rikard, 2004. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4635, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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.
  16. Catia Montagna, 1998. "Efficiency Gaps, Love of Variety and International Trade," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 090, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  17. 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.
  18. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  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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