IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Firm Entry, Trade, and Welfare in Zipf's World

  • Julian di Giovanni

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Andrei A. Levchenko

    (University of Michigan and International Monetary Fund)

Firm size follows Zipf's Law, a very fat-tailed distribution that implies a few large firms account for a disproportionate share of overall economic activity. This distribution of firm size is crucial for evaluating the welfare impact of macroeconomic policies such as barriers to entry or trade liberalization. Using a multi-country model of production and trade in which the parameters are calibrated to match the observed distribution of firm size, we show that the welfare impact of high entry costs is small. In the sample of the largest 50 economies in the world, a reduction in entry costs all the way to the U.S. level leads to an average increase in welfare of only 3.25%. In addition, when the firm size distribution follows Zipf's Law, the welfare impact of the extensive margin of trade -- newly imported goods -- vanishes. The extensive margin of imports accounts for only about 3.5% of the total gains from a 10% reduction in trade barriers in our model. This is because under Zipf's Law, the large, inframarginal firms have a far greater welfare impact than the much smaller firms that comprise the extensive margin in these policy experiments. The distribution of firm size matters for these results: in a counterfactual model economy that does not exhibit Zipf's Law the gains from a reduction in entry barriers are an order of magnitude larger, while the gains from trade liberalization are an order of magnitude smaller.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers576-600/r591.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 591.

as
in new window

Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:591
Contact details of provider: Postal: ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN 48109
Web page: http://fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Easterly, William & Reshef, Ariell & Schwenkenberg, Julia, 2009. "The power of exports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5081, The World Bank.
  2. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Burstein, 2007. "Innovation, Firm Dynamics, and International Trade," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001423, David K. Levine.
  3. 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.
  4. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150, August.
  5. Costas Arkolakis & Svetlana Demidova & Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2008. "Endogenous Variety and the Gains from Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 444-50, May.
  6. Robert C. Feenstra, 2010. "Measuring the gains from trade under monopolistic competition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-28, February.
  7. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2012. "Country Size, International Trade, and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(6), pages 1083 - 1132.
  8. Costinot, Arnaud, 2007. "On the Origins of Comparative Advantage," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt07g7g8h8, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  9. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Rodrigue, Joel, 2008. "Does the use of imported intermediates increase productivity? Plant-level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 106-118, August.
  10. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andre Shleifer, 2000. "The Regulation of Entry," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1904, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. di Giovanni, Julian & Levchenko, Andrei A. & Rancière, Romain, 2011. "Power laws in firm size and openness to trade: Measurement and implications," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 42-52, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Charles I. Jones, 2008. "Intermediate Goods, Weak Links, and Superstars: A Theory of Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 13834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  15. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Amit Kumar Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2010. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1727-1767, November.
  16. Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," NBER Working Papers 14299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Okuyama, K & Takayasu, M & Takayasu, H, 1999. "Zipf's law in income distribution of companies," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 269(1), pages 125-131.
  18. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 14214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585, May.
  20. Mary Amiti, 2000. "Trade Liberalisation of Intermediate Inputs," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 33(4), pages 299-302.
  21. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  22. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  23. Bekkers, Eddy & Francois, Joseph, 2008. "Heterogeneous Firms, the Structure of Industry, and Trade under Oligopoly," CEPR Discussion Papers 6956, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Michael E. Waugh, 2009. "International trade and income differences," Staff Report 435, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  25. di Giovanni, Julian & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2013. "Firm entry, trade, and welfare in Zipf's world," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 283-296.
  26. Andrei A. Levchenko & Julian di Giovanni, 2009. "International Trade and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," 2009 Meeting Papers 491, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  27. Pinelopi Goldberg & Amit Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Trade Liberalization and New Imported Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 494-500, May.
  28. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144, 08.
  29. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, 09.
  30. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel S. Kortum & Sebastian Sotelo, 2012. "International Trade: Linking Micro and Macro," NBER Working Papers 17864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Jeroen Hinloopen & Charles van Marrewijk, 2006. "Comparative Advantage, the Rank-size Rule, and Zipf's Law," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-100/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  34. Fujiwara, Yoshi & Aoyama, Hideaki & Di Guilmi, Corrado & Souma, Wataru & Gallegati, Mauro, 2004. "Gibrat and Pareto–Zipf revisited with European firms," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 344(1), pages 112-116.
  35. Gabaix, Xavier & Ibragimov, Rustam, 2011. "Rank − 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39.
  36. Fernando Alvarez & Robert E. Lucas, 2005. "General Equilibrium Analysis of the Eaton-Kortum Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. László Halpern & Miklós Koren & Adam Szeidl, 2011. "Imported Inputs and Productivity," CeFiG Working Papers 8, Center for Firms in the Global Economy, revised 16 Sep 2011.
  38. Jeroen Hinloopen & Charles van Marrewijk, 2006. "Comparative Advantage, the Rank-size Rule, and Zipf's Law," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-100/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  39. Charles I. Jones, 2011. "Intermediate Goods and Weak Links in the Theory of Economic Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, April.
  40. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2011. "Rank - 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39, January.
  41. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  42. Eddy Bekkers & Joseph Francis Francois, 2008. "Heterogeneous Firms, the Structure of Industry & Trade under Oligopoly," Economics working papers 2008-11, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  43. J. Peter Neary, 2010. "Two and a Half Theories of Trade †," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 1-19, 01.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:591. 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: (FSPP Webmaster)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.