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Trade Costs, International Competition and Selection: The Effects of Unionisation on Market Size

  • Catia Montagna
  • Antonella Nocco

Within a two-country model of international trade in which heterogeneous firms face firm-specific unions, we study the effects of different forms of trade liberalisation on market structure and competitive selection in the presence of inter-country asymmetries in size and labour market institutions. For given levels of trade openness, an increase in a country’s relative unions’ strength reduces the average productivity of its domestic producers but increases that of its exporters. Whilst an unfavourable union power differential, by increasing wages, weakens a country’s firms’ competitive position, the higher wages reinforce standard market access mechanisms to give rise to aggregate income effects. When the initial levels of trade openness are sufficiently low, this ‘expansionary’ aggregate effect can attract industry in the country with stronger unions and also result in an increase in the extensive margin of exports. For sufficiently large inter-country differences in the bargaining power of unions, trade liberalization can then result in a pro-variety effect, with an increase in the total availability of varieties to consumers in both countries, regardless of there being inter-country differences in size.

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Paper provided by Economic Studies, University of Dundee in its series Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics with number 269.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dun:dpaper:269
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  1. 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.
  2. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2009. "Firm Heterogeneity And The Labor Market Effects Of Trade Liberalization," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 187-216, 02.
  3. Montagna, Catia, 2001. "Efficiency Gaps, Love of Variety and International Trade," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(269), pages 27-44, February.
  4. Eckel, Carsten & Egger, Hartmut, 2009. "Wage bargaining and multinational firms," Munich Reprints in Economics 20528, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Montagna, Catia & Nocco, Antonella, 2011. "Unionisation, International Integration and Selection," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-49, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  7. Gonzague Vannoorenberghe, 2011. "Trade between symmetric countries, heterogeneous firms, and the skill premium," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(1), pages 148-170, February.
  8. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 589-630, September.
  9. Del Gatto, Massimo & Mion, Giordano & Ottaviano, Gianmarco, 2006. "Trade Integration, Firm Selection and the Costs of Non-Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 5730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0940, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2007. "Labor Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Antonella Nocco, 2012. "Selection, Market Size and International Integration: Do Vertical Linkages Play a Role?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 960-973, November.
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