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Market Size, Division of Labor, and Firm Productivity

  • Thomas Chaney
  • Ralph Ossa

We generalize Krugman's (1979) 'new trade' model by allowing for an explicit production chain in which a range of tasks is performed sequentially by a number of specialized teams. We demonstrate that an increase in market size induces a deeper division of labor among these teams which leads to an increase in firm productivity. The paper can be thought of as a formalization of Smith's (1776) famous theorem that the division of labor is limited by the extent of the market. It also sheds light on how market size differences can limit the scope for international technology transfers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18243.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Publication status: published as Chaney, Thomas & Ossa, Ralph, 2013. "Market size, division of labor, and firm productivity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 177-180.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18243
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  1. Peter Neary & Carsten Eckel, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Economics Series Working Papers 292, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Daniel Trefler, 2004. "The Long and Short of the Canada-U. S. Free Trade Agreement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 870-895, September.
  3. Philippe Aghion & Robin Burgess & Stephen Redding & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "Entry Liberalization and Inequality in Industrial Performance," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 291-302, 04/05.
  4. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  5. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  6. Andrew Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2009. "Multi-Product Firms and Trade Liberalization," Working Papers 09-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "learning-by-exporting" important? Micro-dynamic evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
  10. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Wolfgang Keller, 2004. "International Technology Diffusion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 752-782, September.
  12. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
  13. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185.
  14. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Dixit, Avinash K & Grossman, Gene M, 1982. "Trade and Protection with Multistage Production," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 583-94, October.
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