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Size Does Matter: International Trade and Population Size


  • Yochanan Shachmurove

    () (The City College of The City University of New York and the University of Pennsylvania)

  • Uriel Spiegel

    () (Department of Economics, Bar Ilan University)


Classical theory of international trade has long advocated trade liberalization and open borders. However, this process is not necessarily beneficial to all countries involved. This paper focuses on two modeled economies that initially share the same technology and per-capita income, but differ in population size. With trade, the profit of the large duopolist is reduced to the benefit of the duopoly in the smaller country, as the large country is no longer able to benefit from its larger population. This may explain why one country would want to open trade with high barriers while another country would prefer low barriers.

Suggested Citation

  • Yochanan Shachmurove & Uriel Spiegel, 2004. "Size Does Matter: International Trade and Population Size," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-035, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:04-035

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krugman, Paul & Elizondo, Raul Livas, 1996. "Trade policy and the Third World metropolis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 137-150, April.
    2. Krugman, Paul R., 1989. "Industrial organization and international trade," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1179-1223 Elsevier.
    3. Shachmurove, Yochanan & Spiegel, Uriel, 1995. "On Nations' Size and Transportation Costs," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 235-243, June.
    4. Collie, David R, 1997. "Bilateralism Is Good: Trade Blocs and Strategic Export Subsidies," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 504-520, October.
    5. Krugman, Paul R, 1987. "Is Free Trade Passe?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 131-144, Fall.
    6. Fujimoto, Hiroaki & Park, Eun-Soo, 1997. "Optimal export subsidy when demand is uncertain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 383-390, September.
    7. Ohsawa, Yoshiaki, 1999. "Cross-border shopping and commodity tax competition among governments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 33-51, January.
    8. Brander, James A., 1995. "Strategic trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1395-1455 Elsevier.
    9. Kanbur, Ravi & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination When Countries Differ in Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 877-892, September.
    10. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
    11. Batra, Ravi, 1992. "The Fallacy of Free Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 19-31, November.
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    More about this item


    Duopoly; Free Trade; Protectionism; Population Size; Nash Equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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