Income Distribution, Product Quality and International Trade
We develop a framework for studying trade in vertically and horizontally and differentiated products. In our model, consumers have heterogeneous incomes and heterogeneous tastes. They purchase a homogeneous good as well as making a discrete choice of quality and variety of a differentiated product. The distribution of preferences in the population generates a nested logit demand structure. These demands are such that the fraction of consumers who buy a higher- quality product rises with income. We use the model to study the pattern of trade between countries that differ in size and income distributions but are otherwise identical. TradeÂ which is driven primarily by demand factorsÂ derives from Âhome market eÂ¤ectsÂ in the presence of transport costs. When these costs are sufficiently small, goods of a given quality are produced in a single country. The model provides a tractable tool for studying the welfare consequences of trade, transport costs, and trade policy for different income groups in an economy.
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