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Bottled Water - A Case of Pointless Trade?

Author

Listed:
  • Friberg, Richard

    () (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Ganslandt, Mattias

    () (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

Abstract

Two-way trade in (almost) homogenous products has ambiguous welfare effects if entry is restricted. We examine Swedish imports of bottled water to investigate whether transport cost losses from trade outweigh the partial equilibrium gains from trade (stronger competition and more brands to choose from). Using monthly data for all brands sold in stores during 1998-2001 we estimate a structural model of demand. Assuming one-shot Bertrand competition by multibrand firms, we can use the estimated model to uncover marginal costs. We stimulate the effect on consumer and producer surplus of banning imports, finding the banning imports would decrease overall welfare. Expanded choice is the main benefit of trade and disregarding his the net welfare effect of imports in this market are approximately zero - the pro-competitive effect is of the same size as the cost savings associated with replacing foreign, higher cost, suppliers with domestic. Given our choice of market this suggests we should not be overly concerned with the welfare effects of two-way trade in consumer goods that are close to homogenous.

Suggested Citation

  • Friberg, Richard & Ganslandt, Mattias, 2003. "Bottled Water - A Case of Pointless Trade?," Working Paper Series 599, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0599
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
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    3. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    4. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1996. "Reorganization of Firms and Labor-Market Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 315-321.
    5. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    6. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
    7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
    8. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Céline Bonnet & Pierre Dubois, 2010. "Inference on vertical contracts between manufacturers and retailers allowing for nonlinear pricing and resale price maintenance," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(1), pages 139-164.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Reciprocal dumping; Intra-Industry Trade; Nested Logit Models;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco

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