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The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity Within and Across Industries: Theory and Evidence


  • Josh Ederington
  • Phillip McCalman


Numerous studies have investigated the link between trade policy and firm productivity. Despite justifying firm level analysis on the basis of considerable heterogeneity between firms within narrowly defined industries, these studies typically constrain all firms to have the same expected response to changes in trade policy. In this paper we develop a theoretical model that accounts for the existence of firm level heterogeneity within industries and predicts that the equilibrium response to changes in trade policy will also be heterogeneous in terms of both sign and size. The variation in firm level reaction is shown to be determined by both firm and industry characteristics and therefore the equilibrium response to trade policy is predicted to vary not only within industries but also across industries. These results allow us to use both sources of variation in the data. We examine these predictions on a firm level data set for the Colombian manufacturing sector in the 1980’s and find strong support for them.

Suggested Citation

  • Josh Ederington & Phillip McCalman, 2007. "The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity Within and Across Industries: Theory and Evidence," Monash Economics Working Papers 24-07, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2007-24

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    Cited by:

    1. Ngo Van Long & Horst Raff & Frank Staehler, 2007. "The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Productivity and Welfare: The Role of Firm Heterogeneity, R&D and Market Structure," Working Papers 0710, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2007.
    2. Ederington, Josh & McCalman, Phillip, 2011. "Infant industry protection and industrial dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 37-47, May.
    3. Navas Antonio & Licandro Omar, 2011. "Trade Liberalization, Competition and Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, May.
    4. Jozef KONINGS & Hylke VANDENBUSSCHE, 2009. "Antidumping Protection hurts Exporters: Firm-level evidence from France," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2009017, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Navas, Antonio, 2012. "Asymmetric trade liberalization, sector heterogeneity and Innovation," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2012/05, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    6. Long, Ngo Van & Raff, Horst & Stähler, Frank, 2011. "Innovation and trade with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 149-159, July.
    7. Navas, Antonio, 2015. "Trade liberalisation and innovation under sector heterogeneity," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 42-62.
    8. Jan De Loecker & Catherine Fuss & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2014. "International competition and firm performance : Evidence from Belgium," Working Paper Research 269, National Bank of Belgium.
    9. Navas, Antonio, 2010. "La Apertura al Comercio Exterior y sus Efectos sobre la Productividad en Presencia de Diferencias Intersectoriales," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2010/04, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).

    More about this item


    tariffs; technology diffusion; productivity.;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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