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Inequality and Trade

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  • Devashish Mitra
  • Vitor Trindade

Abstract

We incorporate demand-side considerations in trade in a systematic but straightforward way. We do so by focusing on the role of inequality in the determination of trade flows and patterns. With nonhomothetic preferences, when countries are similar in all respects but asset inequality, we find that trade is driven by specialization in consumption, not production. These assumptions allow us to generate some interesting international spillover effects of redistributive policies. We also look at the effects of combining inequality and endowment differences on trade flows, and see that this has implications for the mystery of the missing trade.' We then study a model of monopolistic competition, and find a novel V-shaped relationship between the ratio of inter-industry to intra-industry trade and a country's inequality. Finally, we look at how international differences in factor endowments affect this relationship between the ratio of inter- to- intra-industry trade and inequality. Our theory formalizes as well as modifies Linder's conjecture about the relationship between intraindustry trade and the extent of similarity between trading partners.

Suggested Citation

  • Devashish Mitra & Vitor Trindade, 2003. "Inequality and Trade," NBER Working Papers 10087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10087
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Devashish Mitra & Vitor Trindade, 2005. "Inequality and trade," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(4), pages 1253-1271, November.
    2. Giovanni Maggi & Gene M. Grossman, 2000. "Diversity and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1255-1275, December.
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    4. Mani, Anandi, 2001. "Income Distribution and the Demand Constraint," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 107-133, June.
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    6. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2000. "A Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods under Nonhomothetic Preferences: Demand Complementarities, Income Distribution, and North-South Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1093-1120, December.
    7. James R. Markusen, 2021. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: BROADENING TRADE THEORY Incorporating Market Realities into Traditional Models, chapter 9, pages 177-186, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Francois, Joseph F & Kaplan, Seth, 1996. "Aggregate Demand Shifts, Income Distribution, and the Linder Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 244-250, May.
    9. Muhammed Dalgin & Vitor Trindade & Devashish Mitra, 2008. "Inequality, Nonhomothetic Preferences, and Trade: A Gravity Approach," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 74(3), pages 747-774, January.
    10. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
    11. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
    12. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1989. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 537-564.
    13. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "International trade in the presence of product differentiation, economies of scale and monopolistic competition : A Chamberlin-Heckscher-Ohlin approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-340, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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