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Heterogeneous Firms, the Structure of Industry & Trade under Oligopoly

We develop a model with endogeneity in key features of industrial structure linked to heterogeneous cost structures under Cournot competition. We use the model to explore issues related to cross-country differences in industry structure and the impact of globalization on markups and pricing, concentration, and productivity. The model nests two workhorse trade models, the Brander & Krugman reciprocal dumping model and the Ricardian technology-based trade model, as special cases. We examine both free entry and limited entry (free exit) cases. The model generates clear testable predictions on the probability of zero trade flows and the pattern of export prices, and on cross-country and industry variations in industrial structure controlling for openness. Market prices decline as a result of trade liberalization, the least productive firms get squeezed out of the market, exporting firms gain market share, and more firms become trade oriented. In addition, depending on the strength of underlying cost heterogeneity, falling prices are consistent with both increasing and falling industry concentration following episodes of integration. Welfare rises with trade liberalization, unless trade costs decline from a prohibitive level in the short run free exit case. Variation across industries and markets in markups, concentration, and pricing structures is otherwise a function of market size and the variation in cost heterogeneity across industries.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2008-11.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2008_11
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  1. Fabio Ghironi & Marc Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 451, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. James A. Brander & Paul Krugman, 1983. "A 'Reciprocal Dumping' Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 1194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James R. Tybout, 2001. "Plant- and Firm-Level Evidence on "New" Trade Theories," NBER Working Papers 8418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  6. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Baldwin, Richard & Taglioni, Daria, 2006. "Gravity for Dummies and Dummies for Gravity Equations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5850, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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