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Private Labels and International Trade: Trading Variety for Volume

  • Emily Blanchard
  • Tatyana Chesnokova
  • Gerald Willmann

This paper explores the role of pooled-producer, e.g. private label, trade intermediation in shaping the range and diversity of exports. Direct sales maintain a firm's unique product characteristics (`brand equity'), whereas trade through an intermediary can take two forms — either a wholesaling arrangement that (also) maintains the exporter's unique brand but imposes a higher marginal cost (via double marginalization), or a `private label' contract under which the firm's product is pooled with other firms' output and re-sold under a new private label brand created by the intermediary. This paper focuses on the latter, and shows that the availability of the private label option results in greater total export volumes and lower average prices for consumers, but fewer independent varieties available in equilibrium. Welfare implications are mixed: consumers trade variety for volume, firms face greater competition from the new pooled-products, and intermediaries capture much of the gains from trade

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1829.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1829
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  1. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Jung, Benjamin, 2008. "Trade intermediaries, incomplete contracts, and the choice of export modes," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 317, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  2. Bergès-Sennou Fabian & Bontems Philippe & Réquillart Vincent, 2004. "Economics of Private Labels: A Survey of Literature," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-25, February.
  3. Mills, David E, 1995. "Why Retailers Sell Private Labels," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 509-28, Fall.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Wholesalers and retailers in U.S. trade (Long Version)," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48896, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Head, Keith & Jing, Ran & Swenson, Deborah L., 2014. "From Beijing to Bentonville: Do multinational retailers link markets?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 79-92.
  6. Gabrielsen, Tommy Staahl & Sorgard, Lars, 2007. "Private labels, price rivalry, and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 403-424, February.
  7. 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.
  8. Emek Basker & Pham Hoang Van, 2008. "Imports "R" Us: Retail Chains as Platforms for Developing-Country Imports," Working Papers 0804, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 12 Aug 2008.
  9. Kunal Dasgupta & Jordi Mondria, 2012. "Quality Uncertainty and Intermediation in International Trade," Working Papers tecipa-462, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata & Keller, Wolfgang & Tybout, James R, 2011. "Supplier Responses to Wal-Mart's Invasion in Mexico," CEPR Discussion Papers 8540, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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