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On sunk costs and trade liberalization in applied general equilibrium


  • Jean Mercenier
  • Nicolas Schmitt


We argue that the rationalization gains often predicted by static applied general equilibrium models with imperfect competition and scale economies are artificially boosted by an unrealistic treatment of fixed costs. We introduce sunk costs into one such model calibrated with real-world data. We show how this changes the oligopoly game in a way significant enough to affect, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the outcome of a trade liberalization exercise.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Mercenier & Nicolas Schmitt, 1995. "On sunk costs and trade liberalization in applied general equilibrium," Staff Report 188, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:188

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jaskold Gabszewicz, Jean & Vial, Jean-Philippe, 1972. "Oligopoly "A la cournot" in a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 381-400, June.
    2. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Markusen, James R, 1987. "Strategic Investments and the Development of Multinationals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 109-121, February.
    3. Roberts, John & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1977. "On the Foundations of the Theory of Monopolistic Competition," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 101-113, January.
    4. Gasiorek, Michael & Smith, Alasdair & Venables, Anthony J, 1992. "`1992': Trade and Welfare; A General Equilibrium Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 672, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Brander, James A & Spencer, Barbara J, 1985. "Tacit Collusion, Free Entry, and Welfare," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 277-294, March.
    6. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Pro-competitive effects of trade reform : Results from a CGE model of Cameroon," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1157-1184, July.
    7. Drusilla K. Brown & Robert M. Stern, 1989. "U.S.-Canada Bilateral Tariff Elimination: The Role of Product Differentiation and Market Structure," NBER Chapters,in: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness, pages 217-254 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rossana Patrón, 1999. "The imperfect mobility of labour: Going from theory to ‘virtual’ reality. Simulations with simple trade models," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 2299, Department of Economics - dECON.
    2. Grether, Jean-Marie & Müller, Tobias, 2001. "Decomposing the Economic Costs and Benefits of Accession to the EU: the Swiss Case," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 16, pages 203-228.
    3. Gustavo Gonzaga & Maria Cristina Terra & Jorge Cavalcante, 1997. "O impacto do Mercosul sobre o emprego setorial no Brasil," Textos para discussão 382, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    4. Kimakova, Alena & Rajabiun, Reza, 1999. "An Applied General Equilibrium Analysis of EU Integration for Hungary and Slovakia," Transition Economics Series 9, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    5. Schmitt, Nicolas & Weder, Rolf, 1998. "Sunk costs and cartel formation: Theory and application to the dyestuff industry," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 197-220, August.
    6. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Marco A. Marini & Skerdilajda Zanaj, 2017. "Random Encounters and Information Diffusion about Markets," CREA Discussion Paper Series 17-24, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.

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