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International Trade, Technology Diffusion, and the Role of Diffusion Barriers

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  • Li, Yao Amber

Abstract

This paper assesses the welfare impact of trade and technology diffusion as well as the change in the cross-country distribution of GDP due to removal of trade costs and diffusion barriers. The model extends the multi-country Ricardian trade model of Alvarez and Lucas (2007) to include technology diffusion with diffusion barriers. A key feature of the model is that some countries export goods produced by foreign technology via diffusion. The model is calibrated to match the world GDP distribution, the merchandise trade and technology diffusion shares of GDP, and real GDP per capita for a sample of 31 countries. Data on international trade in royalties, license fees, and information intensive services are used as proxies for international technology diffusion. There are three key findings. First, the welfare gains from removing diffusion barriers are 4--60% across countries, generally larger than the gains from removing trade costs (8--40%). The main reason is that diffusion has a larger impact on the nontradable sector due to the substitutability between trade and diffusion in the tradable sector. Another reason is that diffusion barriers are generally larger than trade costs. Second, removing trade costs and diffusion barriers has little impact on reducing the dispersion of real GDP per capita (measured by Gini index) across countries. Compared to the benchmark, free diffusion decreases the Gini by 4%, and free trade decreases the Gini by 2%. Third, removing diffusion barriers increases trade, which indicates that diffusion may enhance trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Yao Amber, 2010. "International Trade, Technology Diffusion, and the Role of Diffusion Barriers," MPRA Paper 39409, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Dec 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39409
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn & Emilie Rovito, 2006. "Five Facts You Need to Know About Technology Diffusion," NBER Working Papers 11928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Wolfgang Keller & Stephen Ross Yeaple, 2013. "The Gravity of Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1414-1444, June.
    3. Natalia Ramondo & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2013. "Trade, Multinational Production, and the Gains from Openness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 273-322.
    4. Alfonso Irarrazabal & Andreas Moxnes & Luca David Opromolla, 2013. "The Margins of Multinational Production and the Role of Intrafirm Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(1), pages 74-126.
    5. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel, 1996. "Trade in ideas Patenting and productivity in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 251-278, May.
    6. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    7. Giovanni Peri, 2005. "Determinants of Knowledge Flows and Their Effect on Innovation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 308-322, May.
    8. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2011. "International trade in services: A portrait of importers and exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 188-206, July.
    9. Alvarez, Fernando & Lucas, Robert Jr., 2007. "General equilibrium analysis of the Eaton-Kortum model of international trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1726-1768, September.
    10. Natalia Ramondo & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2010. "Growth, Size, and Openness: A Quantitative Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 62-67, May.
    11. Bridgman, Benjamin R. & Livshits, Igor D. & MacGee, James C., 2007. "Vested interests and technology adoption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 649-666, April.
    12. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2006. "Innovation, Diffusion, and Trade," NBER Working Papers 12385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade; technology diffusion; diffusion barriers; trade costs; welfare gains; GDP distribution; knowledge trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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