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Delocation and Trade Agreements in Imperfectly Competitive Markets

  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

We consider the purpose and design of trade agreements in imperfectly competitive environments featuring firm-delocation effects. In both the segmented-market Cournot and the integrated-market monopolistic competition settings where these effects have been identified, we show that the only rationale for a trade agreement is to remedy the inefficiency attributable to the terms-of-trade externality, the same rationale that arises in perfectly competitive markets. Furthermore, and again as in the perfectly competitive benchmark case, we show that the principle of reciprocity is efficiency enhancing, as it serves to "undo" the terms-of-trade driven inefficiency that occurs when governments pursue unilateral trade policies. Our results therefore indicate that the terms-of-trade theory of trade agreements applies to a broader set of market structures than previously thought.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15444.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2015. "Delocation and trade agreements in imperfectly competitive markets," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 132-156.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15444
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  1. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Papers 163, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  3. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2009. "Profit Shifting and Trade Agreements in Imperfectly Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 14803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  5. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2009. "The Economics of Trade Agreements in the Linear Cournot Delocation Model," NBER Working Papers 15492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James Brander, 1980. "Intra-Industry Trade in Identical Commodities," Working Papers 380, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 1998. "An economic theory of GATT," Working papers 15, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Richard E. Baldwin & Frederic Robert-Nicoud, 2000. "Free trade agreements without delocation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 766-786, August.
  9. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2001. "Reciprocity, non-discrimination and preferential agreements in the multilateral trading system," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 281-325, June.
  10. Manuel Amador & Kyle Bagwell, 2013. "The Theory of Optimal Delegation With an Application to Tariff Caps," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(4), pages 1541-1599, 07.
  11. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "Tariff Protection and Imperfect Competition," Working Papers 517, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity (DOI:10.111/j.1467-937x.2007.00463.x)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 985-985.
  13. 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.
  14. Dixit, Avinash, 1984. "International Trade Policy for Oligopolistic Industries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376a), pages 1-16, Supplemen.
  15. Staiger, Robert W. & Antras, Pol, 2008. "Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements," Scholarly Articles 3374525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Venables, Anthony J., 1985. "Trade and trade policy with imperfect competition: The case of identical products and free entry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-19, August.
  17. Venables, Anthony J, 1987. "Trade and Trade Policy with Differentiated Products: A Chamberlinian-Ricardian Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 700-717, September.
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