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Trade and Agglomeration: the Strategic use of Protection Revisited

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the strategic motive for protection present in trade and agglomeration models, in the so-called new economic geography framework, is sensitive to the standard assumption that there is a sole agglomeration industry. We first investigate unilateral trade policy effects on the international production and trade pattern and the resulting national welfare levels in a new economic geography model including several agglomeration industries. The strategic use of trade policy is then examined by identifying optimal policy positions as well as equilibrium policy strategies in a Nash policy game between the trade partners. Our results show that the strategic use of protection and the resulting "tariff war" outcome prevalent in standard trade and agglomeration models is sensitive to the inclusion of several agglomeration industries. Specifically, trade liberalising policies are optimal and free trade equilibria result from the Nash game unless there is a too wide industry gap in agglomeration economies. Our results show that the case for free trade can be directly attributed to either a relatively strong direct policy impact on national real income (working through raised import prices and reduced import volumes) or similar agglomeration economies in the two industries. The results of this paper jointly suggest that the stark argument for the strategic use of protection present in standard new economic geography models can be attributed to overemphasised gains from agglomeration and/or the lack of industries with similar agglomeration economies.

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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007:7.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 04 Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2007_007
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
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  1. J. Peter Neary, 2000. "Of hype and hyperbolas : introducing the new economic geography," Working Papers 200019, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. Puga, Diego & Venables, Anthony J, 1999. "Agglomeration and Economic Development: Import Substitution vs. Trade Liberalisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 292-311, April.
  3. Neary, J.P. & Leahy, D., 1998. "Strategic Trade and Industrial Policy Towards Dynamic Oligopolies," Papers 98/14, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  4. Anthony J. Venables, 1993. "Equilibrium Locations of Vertically Linked Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0137, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Paul Krugman, 1982. "Trade in Differentiated Products and the Political Economy of Trade Liberalization," NBER Chapters, in: Import Competition and Response, pages 197-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James A. Brander, 1995. "Strategic Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
  9. Krugman, Paul & Venables, Anthony J, 1993. "Integration, Specialization and Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 886, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  11. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 1998. "An economic theory of GATT," Working papers 15, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. Richard E. Baldwin & Frederic Robert-Nicoud, 2000. "Free trade agreements without delocation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 766-786, August.
  13. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Market Access, Economic Geography and Comparative Advantage: An Empirical Assessment," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1850, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Venables, Anthony J, 1987. "Trade and Trade Policy with Differentiated Products: A Chamberlinian-Ricardian Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 700-717, September.
  15. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, June.
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