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Vertical specialization and the border effect puzzle

Author

Listed:
  • Kei-Mu Yi

Abstract

A large body of empirical research finds that a pair of regions within a country tends to trade 10 to 20 times as much as an otherwise identical pair of regions across countries. In the context of the standard trade models, the large “border effect” is problematic, because it is consistent only with high elasticities of substitution between goods and/or high unobserved national border barriers. The author proposes a resolution to this puzzle based on vertical specialization, which occurs when regions or countries specialize only in particular stages of a good’s production sequence. The author develops a Ricardian model of intra-national and international trade, and shows how endogenous vertical specialization magnifies the effects of border barriers such as tariffs. He calibrates the model to match relative wages, trade shares, and vertical specialization for the U.S. and Canada. The model implies a much smaller border barrier and border effect than previous estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Kei-Mu Yi, 2005. "Vertical specialization and the border effect puzzle," Working Papers 05-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:05-24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "A Spatial Theory of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1464-1491, December.
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    3. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    4. John F. Helliwell & Geneviève Verdier, 2001. "Measuring internal trade distances: a new method applied to estimate provincial border effects in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1024-1041, November.
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    6. David L. 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.
    7. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren & Mayer, Thierry, 2005. "The trade-creating effects of business and social networks: evidence from France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-29, May.
    8. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Intra-National versus International Trade: How Stubborn are Nations in Global Integration?," NBER Working Papers 5531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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 823-839, December.
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    12. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
    13. Russell H. Hillberry, 2002. "Aggregation bias, compositional change, and the border effect," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(3), pages 517-530, August.
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    15. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Whalley, John & Xin, Xian, 2009. "Home and regional biases and border effects in Armington type models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 309-319, March.
    2. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "A Spatial Theory of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1464-1491, December.
    3. Liu, Xiaoyun & Whalley, John & Xin, Xian, 2010. "Non-tradable goods and the border effect puzzle," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 909-914, September.

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    Keywords

    Consumption (Economics) ; Trade;

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