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Intermediated Trade

  • Antras, Pol
  • Costinot, Arnaud

This paper develops a simple model of international trade with intermediation. We consider an economy with two islands and two types of agents, farmers and traders. Farmers can produce two goods, but in order to sell these goods in centralized (Walrasian) markets, they need to be matched with a trader, and this entails costly search. In the absence of search frictions, our model reduces to a standard Ricardian model of trade. We use this simple model to contrast the implications of changes in the integration of Walrasian markets, which allow traders from different islands to exchange their goods, and changes in the access to these Walrasian markets, which allow farmers to trade with traders from different islands. We find that intermediation always magnifies the gains from trade under the former type of integration, but leads to more nuanced welfare results under the latter, including the possibility of aggregate losses.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4784024.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4784024
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  1. Costinot, Arnaud, 2008. "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: A "New" Perspective on Protectionism," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1cp9749b, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. Chau, Nancy H & Goto, Hideaki & Kanbur, Ravi, 2009. "Middlemen, Non-Profits and Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 7459, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, 07.
  4. David Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy & Alexandre Skiba, 2007. "The Trade Reducing Effects of Market Power in International Shipping," NBER Working Papers 12914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Akerman, Anders, 2010. "A Theory on the Role of Wholesalers in International Trade based on Economies of Scope," Research Papers in Economics 2010:1, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  6. Marcel Fafchamps & Ruth Vargas Hill, 2004. "Selling at the farm-gate or travelling to market," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-30, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  7. Pol Antrás & Arnaud Costinot, 2010. "Intermediation and Economic Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 424-28, May.
  8. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475, October.
  9. Marcel Fafchamps & Ruth Vargas Hill, 2008. "Price Transmission and Trader Entry in Domestic Commodity Markets," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 729-766.
  10. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  11. Carsten Eckel, 2009. "International Trade and Retailing," CESifo Working Paper Series 2597, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Kunal Dasgupta & Jordi Mondria, 2012. "Quality Uncertainty and Intermediation in International Trade," Working Papers tecipa-462, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Gary Biglaiser, 1993. "Middlemen as Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 212-223, Summer.
  14. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1988. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models with Frictional Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1267-93, December.
  15. Morisset, Jacques, 1998. "Unfair Trade? The Increasing Gap between World and Domestic Prices in Commodity Markets during the Past 25 Years," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 503-26, September.
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