IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thede, Susanna, 2007. "Trade and Agglomeration: the Strategic use of Protection Revisited," Working Papers 2007:7, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2007_007

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Neary, J Peter & Leahy, Dermot, 2000. "Strategic Trade and Industrial Policy towards Dynamic Oligopolies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 484-508, April.
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
    3. 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, January.
    4. 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.
    5. J.Peter Neary, 2001. "Of Hype and Hyperbolas: Introducing the New Economic Geography," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 536-561, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Krugman, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 1996. "Integration, specialization, and adjustment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 959-967, April.
    8. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "An Economic Theory of GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 215-248, March.
    9. Venables, Anthony J, 1996. "Equilibrium Locations of Vertically Linked Industries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(2), pages 341-359, May.
    10. Brander, James A., 1995. "Strategic trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1395-1455 Elsevier.
    11. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Market Access, Economic Geography, and Comparative Advantage: An Empirical Assessment," NBER Working Papers 6787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    New economic geography; input-output linkages; strategic trade policy; Nash policy game.;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2007_007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Edgerton). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.