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Regional convergence, trade liberalization and agglomeration of activities : an analysis of NAFTA and MERCOSUR cases

  • Nicole Madariaga

    ()

    (TEAM)

  • Sylvie Montout

    ()

    (TEAM)

  • Patrice Ollivaud

    ()

    (OECD)

This study examines the theoretical and empirical link between trade integration, the density of activities and per capita income convergence within NAFTA members during the 1980-2000 period and within MERCOSUR partners from 1985 to 2000. We first build a two countries framework based on economic geography theory to explore this link. We introduce differences in wage levels between a rich and a poor region. We find that trade liberalization may have a positive impact on per capita income convergence if countries have initially similar wages and transaction costs are low. Second, the empirical approach refers to two different convergence concepts : homogenization and catch-up. We also determine activities' concentration trends within each trade agreement according to different measures of agglomeration. Afterwards, we use these measures to introduce an agglomeration variable in conditional convergence regressions. The analysis of the sigma and absolute beta-convergence concludes to a divergence between the two NAFTA partners. On the contrary, we observe a process of convergence in the MERCOSUR between 1985 and 2000 even if this process appears to slow down after 1991. Our conditional estimates also show that agglomeration plays a significant and positive role in growth after the implementation of treaties.

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File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/cahiers2004/Bla04069.pdf
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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) in its series Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques with number bla04069.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:wpsorb:bla04069
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