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Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence

  • Baldwin, Richard
  • Harrigan, James

Bilateral, product-level data exhibit a number of strong patterns that can be used to evaluate international trade theories, notably the spatial incidence of "export zeros" (correlated with distance and importer size), and of export unit values (positively related to distance). We show that leading theoretical trade models fail to explain at least some of these facts, and propose a variant of the Melitz model that can account for all the facts. In our model, high quality firms are the most competitive, with heterogeneous quality increasing with firms’ heterogeneous cost.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6368.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6368
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  1. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 11393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Yo Chul Choi & David Hummels & Chong Xiang, 2006. "Explaining Import Variety and Quality: The Role of the Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 12531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. FUJITA, Masahisa & THISSE, Jacques-François, 2002. "Agglomeration and market interaction," CORE Discussion Papers 2002011, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Robert Johnson, 2008. "Trade and Prices with Heterogeneous Firms," 2008 Meeting Papers 244, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  7. Armenter, Roc & Koren, Miklós, 2010. "A Balls-and-Bins Model of Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7783, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Matthias Helble & Toshihiro Okubo, 2008. "Heterogeneous Quality Firms and Trade Costs," Discussion Paper Series 220, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  9. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Thisse, Jacques-François, 1998. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 1903, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Demidova, Svetlana, 2005. "Productivity Improvements and Falling Trade Costs: Boon or Bane?," Working Papers 2-05-1, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  12. Micco, Alejandro & Serebrisky, Tomas, 2006. "Competition regimes and air transport costs: The effects of open skies agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 25-51, September.
  13. Hansen, Christian B., 2007. "Asymptotic properties of a robust variance matrix estimator for panel data when T is large," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 597-620, December.
  14. Fernando Alvarez & Robert E. Lucas, 2005. "General Equilibrium Analysis of the Eaton-Kortum Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alan V. Deardorff, 2014. "Local comparative advantage: Trade costs and the pattern of trade," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 10(1), pages 9-35, 03.
  16. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1998. "The Regionalization of the World Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fran98-1, 08.
  17. 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.
  18. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 802, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
  20. 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.
  21. Jon Haveman & David Hummels, 2004. "Alternative hypotheses and the volume of trade: the gravity equation and the extent of specialization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(1), pages 199-218, February.
  22. repec:rus:hseeco:122203 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Robert C. Feenstra & Andrew K. Rose, 2000. "Putting Things In Order: Trade Dynamics And Product Cycles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 369-382, August.
  24. Alan V. Deardorff, 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Working Papers 5377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. James Harrigan, 2005. "Airplanes and Comparative Advantage," NBER Working Papers 11688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  28. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
  29. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen & Andrew K. Rose, 2001. "Using the gravity equation to differentiate among alternative theories of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 430-447, May.
  30. 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.
  31. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-Product Versus Within-Product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 647-678.
  32. Besedes, Tibor & Prusa, Thomas J., 2006. "Product differentiation and duration of US import trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 339-358, December.
  33. Tibor Besedes & Thomas Prusa, 2006. "Ins, outs, and the duration of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 266-295, February.
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