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Trade, Variety, and Immigration


  • Chen Bo
  • David S. Jacks


What are the gains from international trade? And how do immigrants influence this process? While economists have considered these questions before, particularly in the context of aggregate trade flows, there has been no work assessing the relation between immigration and international trade in varieties--that is, the trade of particular goods from particular geographic areas. We consider the case of Canada, document its impressive experience with import variety growth in the period from 1988 to 2007, and relate this variety growth to the process of immigration. We find that import varieties grew 76%, that this growth is associated with a welfare gain to Canadian consumers as large as 28%, and that enhanced immigration flows may be responsible for 25% of this variety growth and its attendant welfare gains for native-born Canadians.

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  • Chen Bo & David S. Jacks, 2012. "Trade, Variety, and Immigration," NBER Working Papers 17963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17963
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
    2. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. William R. Kerr, 2013. "Heterogeneous Technology Diffusion and Ricardian Trade Patterns," NBER Working Papers 19657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Pierre-Louis Vezina & Christopher Parsons, 2014. "Migrant Networks and Trade: The Vietnamese Boat People as a Natural Experiment," Economics Series Working Papers 705, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Bo Chen, 2013. "Special Issue. Guest Editor: Zhihao Yu," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 414-429, August.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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