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Firm Heterogeneity and Costly Trade: A New Estimation Strategy and Policy Experiments

  • Svetlana Demidova

    (Department of Economics, McMaster University)

  • Kala Krishna

    (Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University and NBER)

  • Hiau Looi Kee

    (Development Research Group - Trade, The World Bank)

  • Ivan Cherkashin

    (Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University)

In previous work (Kee and Krishna (2008), "Firm Level Heterogeneous Productivity and Demand Shocks: Evidence from Bangladesh," American Economic Review, 98(2)) we argued that two dimensions of firm heterogeneity (firm specific productivity and firm and market specific demand shocks) were needed to explain the facts. In this paper we do three things. 1. We develop a partial equilibrium model of the Bangladeshi Apparel sector exporting one product group to two markets that incorporates these two dimensions of heterogeneity. 2. We show how to use this model together with information on the distributions of productivity and demand shocks (which we obtain from prior work, see Demidova, Kee and Krishna (2008), "Do Trade Policy Differences Induce Sorting? Theory and Evidence from Bangladeshi Apparel Exporters'') to estimate the model. 3. We use the model to perform counterfactual experiments about the effect of liberal trade preferences (accompanied possibly by distortion Rules of Origin) in one country. The contribution of the work is threefold. First, it simplifies the multi-country general equilibrium heterogeneous firm model to one that can be useful empirically. Second, our estimation procedure identifies fixed costs of entry, exports and production as well as documentation costs associated with meeting Rules of Origin. Such costs in prior work have been hard to estimate. Entry costs have been estimated in dynamic models using panel data from the pattern of firm entry/exit decisions. Our approach provides another way to estimate such costs from cross sectional data using differences in trade policy across destinations to do so. Third, our model can be simulated to provide estimates of the outcomes of alternative trade scenarios.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2009 Meeting Papers with number 1199.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:1199
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Lincoln, William F. & McCallum, Andrew H., 2011. "Entry Costs and Increasing Trade," Working Papers 619, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
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  3. Demidova, Svetlana & Kee, Hiau Looi & Krishna, Kala, 2012. "Do trade policy differences induce sorting? Theory and evidence from Bangladeshi apparel exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 247-261.
  4. Hiau Looi Kee & Kala Krishna, 2007. "Firm Level Heterogeneous Productivity and Demand Shocks: Evidence from Bangladesh," NBER Working Papers 13698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity... for Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099, August.
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  22. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
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  24. Alfonso A. Irarrazabal & Andreas Moxnes & Luca David Opromolla, 2011. "The Tip of the Iceberg: A Quantitative Framework for Estimating Trade Costs," Working Papers w201125, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  25. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2006. "How Important is the New Goods Margin in International Trade?," 2006 Meeting Papers 733, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  26. Blum, Bernardo S. & Claro, Sebastian & Horstmann, Ignatius J., 2013. "Occasional and perennial exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 65-74.
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