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Sub-national Differentiation and the Role of the Firm in Optimal International Pricing

  • Edward J. Balistreri
  • James R. Markusen

We illuminate the relationship between optimal firm pricing and optimal trade policy by exploring a generalized model that accommodates product differentiation at both the national and sub-national (firm) levels. We assume monopolistic competition in the differentiated products at the sub-national level. When the national and sub-national substitution elasticities are similar we find little opportunity for small countries to improve their terms of trade through trade distortions, because firms play an important preemptive role in optimally pricing unique varieties. We contrast this with standard applications of perfect-competition Armington models, which exhibit high optimal tariffs--even for relatively small countries.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13130.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13130.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Publication status: published as Balistreri, Edward J. & Markusen, James R., 2009. "Sub-national differentiation and the role of the firm in optimal international pricing," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 47-62, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13130
Note: ITI IO
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  1. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, June.
  2. Rutherford, Thomas F, 1999. "Applied General Equilibrium Modeling with MPSGE as a GAMS Subsystem: An Overview of the Modeling Framework and Syntax," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 14(1-2), pages 1-46, October.
  3. Markusen, James R. & Melvin, James R. & Maskus, Keith E. & Kaempfer, William, 1995. "International trade: theory and evidence," MPRA Paper 21989, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Brown, Drusilla K., 1987. "Tariffs, the terms of trade, and national product differentiation," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 503-526.
  5. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 1992. "A North American Free Trade Agreement: Analytical Issues and a Computational Assessment," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 11-30, 01.
  6. Markusen, James R & Wigle, Randall M, 1989. "Nash Equilibrium Tariffs for the United States and Canada: The Roles of Country Size, Scale Economies, and Capital Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 368-86, April.
  7. Drusilla K. Brown & Kozo Kiyota & Robert M. Stern, 2005. "Computational Analysis of the U.S FTAs with Central America, Australia, And Morocco," Working Papers 527, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  8. Russell H. Hillberry & Michael A. Anderson & Edward J. Balistreri & Alan K. Fox, 2005. "Taste Parameters as Model Residuals: Assessing the "Fit" of an Armington Trade Model," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(5), pages 973-984, November.
  9. J. P. Neary (ed.), 1995. "International Trade," Books, Edward Elgar, volume 0, number 575.
  10. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
  11. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  12. Markusen, James R., 1990. "Derationalizing tariffs with specialized intermediate inputs and differentiated final goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3-4), pages 375-383, May.
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