IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding Markups in the Open Economy under Bertrand Competition


  • Beatriz de Blas
  • Katheryn Russ


The purpose of this paper is to understand the effects of endogenous markups and trade costs on the pricing behavior of exporters when firms are heterogeneous in productivity. Using new analytical distributions for markups under Bertrand competition, we uncover Ricardian patterns of export pricing that generate higher markups and export price volatility when industrialized countries sell to developing countries. These Ricardian patterns dissipate when developing countries move from bilateral to multilateral trade liberalization. The results arise from a form of price rigidity for exports that arises endogenously due to cut-throat competition, even though prices are otherwise perfectly flexible.

Suggested Citation

  • Beatriz de Blas & Katheryn Russ, 2010. "Understanding Markups in the Open Economy under Bertrand Competition," NBER Working Papers 16587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16587
    Note: ITI

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bottasso, Anna & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2001. "Market power, productivity and the EU Single Market Program: Evidence from a panel of Italian firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 167-186, January.
    2. Simonovska, Ina & Waugh, Michael E., 2014. "The elasticity of trade: Estimates and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 34-50.
    3. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2005. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 865-915.
    4. Berger, David & Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H. & Steverson, Kai, 2012. "Border prices and retail prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 62-73.
    5. Adolfo Barajas & Roberto Steiner & Natalia Salazar, 1999. "Interest Spreads in Banking in Colombia, 1974-96," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 1-4.
    6. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Frequency of Price Adjustment and Pass-Through," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 675-727.
    7. Linda S. Goldberg & Cédric Tille, 2009. "Micro, macro, and strategic forces in international trade invoicing," Staff Reports 405, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    8. Cherkashin, Ivan & Demidova, Svetlana & Kee, Hiau Looi & Krishna, Kala, 2015. "Firm heterogeneity and costly trade: A new estimation strategy and policy experiments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 18-36.
    9. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2012. "Lost in Transit: Product Replacement Bias and Pricing to Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3277-3316, December.
    10. Arnold, Jens & Javorcik, Beata, 2005. "Gifted Kids or Pushy Parents? Foreign Acquisitions and Plant Performance in Indonesia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5065, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Laura Alfaro & Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Selin Sayek, 2009. "FDI, Productivity and Financial Development," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(1), pages 111-135, January.
    12. Novy, Dennis, 2010. "International Trade and Monopolistic Competition without CES: Estimating Translog Gravity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 929, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    13. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
    14. Stefania Garetto, 2014. "Firms’ Heterogeneity and Incomplete Pass-Through," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2014-006, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    15. Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 733-772, May.
    16. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
    17. Paul R. Bergin & Robert C. Feenstra, 2009. "Pass-Through of Exchange Rates and Competition between Floaters and Fixers," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(s1), pages 35-70, February.
    18. Nocke, Volker & Yeaple, Stephen, 2007. "Cross-border mergers and acquisitions vs. greenfield foreign direct investment: The role of firm heterogeneity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 336-365, July.
    19. Robert C. Feenstra & David E. Weinstein, 2017. "Globalization, Markups, and US Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1040-1074.
    20. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki & Roberto Rigobon, 2010. "Currency Choice and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 304-336, March.
    21. Raphael Schoenle, 2010. "International Menu Costs and Price Dynamics," Working Papers 79, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
    22. Anderson, Simon P. & De Palma, Andre & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1987. "The CES is a discrete choice model?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 139-140.
    23. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
    24. Anusha Chari & Paige P. Ouimet & Linda L. Tesar, 2010. "The Value of Control in Emerging Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1741-1770, April.
    25. Sembenelli, Alessandro & Siotis, Georges, 2008. "Foreign Direct Investment and mark-up dynamics: Evidence from Spanish firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 107-115, September.
    26. Claessens, Stijn & Demirguc-Kunt, Asl[iota] & Huizinga, Harry, 2001. "How does foreign entry affect domestic banking markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 891-911, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2012. "Putting Ricardo to Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 65-90, Spring.
    2. Holmes, Thomas J. & Hsu, Wen-Tai & Lee, Sanghoon, 2014. "Allocative efficiency, mark-ups, and the welfare gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 195-206.
    3. Roberto Ramos & Manuel García-Santana & Jose Asturias, 2014. "Misallocation, Internal Trade, and the Role of Transportation Infrastructure," 2014 Meeting Papers 1035, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Franziska Bremus, 2011. "Financial Integration and Macroeconomic Stability: What Role for Large Banks?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1178, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Nikolas J. Zolas, 2014. "International Patenting Strategies With Heterogeneous Firms," Working Papers 14-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Haichao Fan & Yao Amber Li & Tuan Anh Luong, 2015. "Input-Trade Liberalization and Markups," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2015-26, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised May 2015.
    7. Franziska Bremus & Claudia Buch & Katheryn Russ & Monika Schnitzer, 2013. "Big Banks and Macroeconomic Outcomes: Theory and Cross-Country Evidence of Granularity," NBER Working Papers 19093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. S. Guilloux-Nefussi, 2016. "Globalization, Market Structure and Inflation Dynamics," Working papers 610, Banque de France.
    9. Michael Waugh & Ina Simonovska, 2012. "Different Trade Models, Different Trade Elasticities?," 2012 Meeting Papers 618, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Benjamin R. Mandel, 2013. "Chinese exports and U.S. import prices," Staff Reports 591, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    11. Kucheryavyy, Konstantin, 2012. "Continuity of a model with a nested CES utility function and Bertrand competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 473-476.
    12. Goldberg, Linda & Tille, Cédric, 2013. "A bargaining theory of trade invoicing and pricing," Kiel Working Papers 1839, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    13. Melitz, Marc J. & Redding, Stephen J., 2014. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    14. Bremus, Franziska M., 2015. "Cross-border banking, bank market structures and market power: Theory and cross-country evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 242-259.
    15. Kunal Dasgupta & Jordi Mondria, 2015. "Gains from Trade under Quality Uncertainty," Working Papers tecipa-526, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16587. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.