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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. 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.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Falling Trade Costs, Heterogeneous Firms, and Industry Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 9639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2006. "Trade and Growth with Heterogenous Firms," NBER Working Papers 12326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  6. 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.
  7. Richard E. Baldwin & Rikard Forslid, 2006. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogenous Firms," NBER Working Papers 12192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Catia Montagna, 1998. "Efficiency Gaps, Love of Variety and International Trade," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 090, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  13. 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.
  14. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," NBER Working Papers 10344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Wang, Zhen Kun & Winters, L. Alan, 1991. "The Trading Potential of Eastern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 610, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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