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Allocative Efficiency, Mark-ups, and the Welfare Gains from Trade

  • Thomas J. Holmes
  • Wen-Tai Hsu
  • Sanghoon Lee

This paper develops an index of allocative efficiency that depends upon the distribution of mark-ups across goods. It determines how changes in trade frictions affect allocative efficiency in an oligopoly model of international trade, decomposing the effect into the cost-change channel and the price-change channel. Formulas are derived shedding light on the signs and magnitudes of the two channels. In symmetric country models, trade tends to increase allocative efficiency through the cost-change channel, yielding a welfare benefit beyond productive efficiency gains. In contrast, the price-change channel has ambiguous effects on allocative efficiency.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19273.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19273
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  1. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-Francois Tissse, 1999. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-65, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  2. 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.
  3. PierrePhilippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Diego Puga & Sébastien Roux, 2009. "The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities: Distinguishing Agglomeration from Firm Selection," SERC Discussion Papers 0027, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  4. 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.
  5. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
  6. Kristian Behrens & Yasusada Murata, 2009. "Trade, Competition, and Efficiency," Cahiers de recherche 0940, CIRPEE.
  7. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1991. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 43-61, January.
  8. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Burstein, 2007. "Pricing-to-market, trade costs, and international relative prices," Working Paper Series 2007-26, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2012. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," NBER Working Papers 18041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. James A. Schmitz, Jr., 2005. "What determines productivity? lessons from the dramatic recovery of the U.S. and Canadian iron-ore industries following their early 1980s crisis," Staff Report 286, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Alberto Salvo, 2010. "Inferring market power under the threat of entry: the case of the Brazilian cement industry," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(2), pages 326-350.
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