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The International Strategy of Firms: the Role of Endogenous Product Differentiation

  • Pierre Blanchard
  • Carl Gaigné
  • Claude Mathieu

We study the impact of trade liberalization on the international strategy of firms (to export and/or invest abroad as well as the number of products to be produced and exported) when product differentiation is endogenous. By considering product differentiation as a strategic variable, our analysis sheds new light on the impact of trade barriers on the decision to produce abroad and on the choice of product range, in accordance with recent empirical evidence. Indeed, we show that, even though technology exhibits the same productivity for each variety, firms drop some varieties with trade integration. In addition, our results reveal that, contrary to the standard theoretical literature, the relationship between the decision to export and trade costs is non-linear. When trade costs are relatively high, each firm export and is multi-product. Then, when trade costs take intermediate values, firms may invest abroad and the choice of producing abroad results from a prisoner's dilemma game. Finally, when trade costs are low, firms export but become single-product.

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Paper provided by INRA UMR SMART in its series Working Papers SMART - LERECO with number 10-02.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:rae:wpaper:201002
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  1. Gianni De Fraja & George Norman, 1998. "Product Differentiation and the Location of International Production," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9814, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. Carsten Eckel & J. Peter Neary, 2006. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Working Papers 200608, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  3. Deborah L. Swenson, 2004. "Foreign Investment and the Mediation of Trade Flows," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 609-629, 09.
  4. Thierry Mayer & Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2011. "Market size, competition, and the product mix of exporters," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  5. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2001. "Overseas Investment and Firm Exports," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 108-22, February.
  6. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Motta, M., 1991. "International trade and investments in a vertically differentiated industry," CORE Discussion Papers 1991050, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. N/A, 2004. "The World Economy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 187(1), pages 8-35, January.
  9. Brander, James A & Eaton, Jonathan, 1984. "Product Line Rivalry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 323-34, June.
  10. Martinez-Giralt, Xavier & Neven, Damien J, 1988. "Can Price Competition Dominate Market Segmentation?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 431-42, June.
  11. N/A, 2004. "The World Economy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 189(1), pages 8-36, July.
  12. Baldwin, Richard E. & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P., 2001. "Multiproduct multinationals and reciprocal FDI dumping," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 429-448, August.
  13. Alan Rugman, 1987. "Multinationals and trade in services: A transaction cost approach," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 123(4), pages 651-667, December.
  14. Antoine Berthou & Lionel Fontagné, 2013. "How do Multiproduct Exporters React to a Change in Trade Costs?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 326-353, 04.
  15. K Ojah & L Monplaisir, 2003. "Investors' valuation of global product design and development," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(5), pages 457-472, September.
  16. Magnus Blomstrom & Robert E. Lipsey & Ksenia Kulchycky, 1988. "U.S. and Swedish Direct Investment and Exports," NBER Chapters, in: Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, pages 257-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, October.
  18. Blonigen, Bruce A., 2001. "In search of substitution between foreign production and exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 81-104, February.
  19. Manez, J.A. & Waterson, M., 2001. "Multiproduct Firms and Product Differentiation: a Survey," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 594, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  20. repec:adr:anecst:y:1997:i:47:p:10 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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