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Expansion of Trade at the Extensive Margin: A General Gains-from-Trade Result and Illustrative Examples

  • Markusen, James R.

The basic gains-from-trade theorem makes a stark comparison between completely free trade and complete autarky. This paper is motivated by recent evidence that trade has greatly expanded on the extensive margin (aka fragmentation, offshoring) by adding newly traded goods and services and that much of this new trade is in intermediates. I provide an extension of existing gains-from-trade results by allowing trade in an added set of final and/or intermediate goods. As seems generally understood, a sufficient condition for all countries to gain from fragmentation is that the relative world prices of initially-trade goods don't change. However, trade costs break the strict link between domestic and world prices in my approach and this results in interesting subtleties as initially-traded goods change their trade status following fragmentation. I illustrate these results by applying them to two recent and quite specific formulations of expansion at the extensive margin: Grossman and Rossi-Hansberg (2008) and Markusen and Venables (2007). Symmetry in two senses results in gains for all countries: countries are relatively symmetric in size and the newly-traded goods are relatively symmetric in their factor intensities with respect to the world endowment ratio.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7802.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7802
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  1. Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen (ed.), 2008. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Multinational Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262026457, June.
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  10. Venables, Anthony J. & Limao, Nuno, 1999. "Geographical disadvantage - a Heckscher-Ohlin-von Thunen model of international specialization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2256, The World Bank.
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  14. Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Fragmentation and multinational production," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 935-945, April.
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  19. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-39, December.
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  23. Timothy J. Kehoe, 2003. "An Evaluation of the Performance of Applied General Equilibrium Models of the Impact of NAFTA," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000525, David K. Levine.
  24. V.N. Balasubramanyam, 2008. "Foreign Direct Investment," Chapters, in: International Handbook of Development Economics, Volumes 1 & 2, chapter 39 Edward Elgar.
  25. Markusen, James R., 1981. "Trade and the gains from trade with imperfect competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 531-551, November.
  26. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  27. Ronald W. Jones, 2000. "Globalization and the Theory of Input Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026210086x, June.
  28. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 2007. "Interacting factor endowments and trade costs: A multi-country, multi-good approach to trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 333-354, November.
  29. David Hummels & Dana Rapoport & Kei-Mu Yi, 1998. "Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 79-99.
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