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Trade Flows, Multilateral Resistance, and Firm Heterogeneity

  • Alberto Behar
  • Benjamin D. Nelson

We present a gravity model that accounts for multilateral resistance, firm heterogeneity and country-selection into trade, while accommodating asymmetries in trade flows. A new equation for the proportion of exporting firms takes a gravity form, such that the extensive margin is also affected by multilateral resistance. We develop Taylor approximated multilateral resistance terms with which to capture the comparative static effects of changes in trade costs. For isolated bilateral changes in trade frictions, multilateral resistance effects are small for most countries. However, if all countries reduce their trade frictions, the impact of multilateral resistance is so strong that bilateral trade falls in most cases, despite the larger trade elasticities implied by firm heterogeneity. As a consequence, the world-wide trade response, though positive, is much lower.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/297.

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Length: 39
Date of creation: 20 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/297
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  1. Andrew Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Working Papers 07-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Alberto Behar & Laia Cirera-i-Crivillé, 2013. "Does it Matter Who You Sign With? Comparing the Impacts of North–South and South–South Trade Agreements on Bilateral Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 765-782, 09.
  3. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
  5. James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2011. "Terms of Trade and Global Efficiency Effects of Free Trade Agreements, 1990-2002," NBER Working Papers 17003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2009. "Bonus vetus OLS: A simple method for approximating international trade-cost effects using the gravity equation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 77-85, February.
  7. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  8. James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2010. "The Changing Incidence of Geography," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2157-86, December.
  9. Peter Egger & Mario Larch & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2010. "The Trade Effects of Endogenous Preferential Trade Agreements," SOI - Working Papers 1013, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  10. Alberto Behar & Philip Manners & Benjamin D. Nelson, 2013. "Exports and International Logistics," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(6), pages 855-886, December.
  11. Tony Venables & Alberto Behar, 2010. "Transport Costs and International Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 488, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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