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. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0795, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150, December.
  3. Costinot, Arnaud, 2009. "On the origins of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 255-264, April.
  4. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Tomás Burstein, 2010. "Innovation, Firm Dynamics, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 433-484, 06.
  5. 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.
  6. Alvarez, Fernando & Lucas, Robert Jr., 2007. "General equilibrium analysis of the Eaton-Kortum model of international trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1726-1768, September.
  7. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "The Regulation of Entry," Working Paper Series rwp01-015, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. 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.
  9. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. 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.
  12. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  13. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  14. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2009. "International Trade and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," Working Papers 585, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  15. 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.
  16. Xavier Gabaix, 2009. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 255-294, 05.
  17. 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.
  18. J. Peter Neary, 2010. "Two and a Half Theories of Trade †," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 1-19, 01.
  19. 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.
  20. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2008. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," NBER Working Papers 14610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2009. "Firm Entry, Trade, and Welfare in Zipf's World," Working Papers 591, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  24. 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.
  25. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel S. Kortum & Sebastian Sotelo, 2012. "International Trade: Linking Micro and Macro," NBER Working Papers 17864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Michael E. Waugh, 2010. "International Trade and Income Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2093-2124, December.
  31. 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.
  32. Pinelopi Goldberg & Amit Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," Working Papers 1179, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. David E. Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization And The Gains From Variety," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 327, Econometric Society.
  36. Robert C. Feenstra, 2009. "Measuring the Gains from Trade under Monopolistic Competition," NBER Working Papers 15593, 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. Easterly, William & Reshef, Ariell & Schwenkenberg, Julia, 2009. "The power of exports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5081, The World Bank.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
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.