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Imported Inputs and the Gains from Trade

Author

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  • Ananth Ramanarayanan

    (University of Western Ontario)

Abstract

The bulk of international trade takes place in intermediate inputs as opposed to goods for final consumption. Studies of firm-level data show that there is substantial heterogeneity in the share of inputs that are imported by different firms, and that a firm's productivity increases with the quantity and variety of inputs that it imports. This paper develops a model to quantify the contributions of firm-level productivity gains to aggregate productivity and welfare gains from trade. In the model, heterogeneous firms choose the fraction of their inputs to import. Importing a higher fraction of inputs raises firm-level productivity, but requires higher up-front fixed costs. Therefore, firms with different inherent profitability will vary in how much they import and the productivity they gain from doing so. This heterogeneity provides aggregate productivity and welfare gains from trade that would not exist in a world in which firms used identical input bundles. These gains are consistent with data on specific trade liberalization episodes that show large firm-level productivity gains attributed to higher imports of intermediate inputs.

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  • Ananth Ramanarayanan, 2012. "Imported Inputs and the Gains from Trade," 2012 Meeting Papers 612, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:612
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ramanarayanan, Ananth, 2017. "Imported inputs, irreversibility, and international trade dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 1-18.
    2. Piotr Gabrielczak & Tomasz Serwach, 2014. "Produktywnosc a ekspansja miedzynarodowa przedsiebiorstw. Przypadek wojewodztwa lodzkiego / Firms’ productivity and their international expansion. The case of Lodz voivodeship," International Economics, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, issue 5, pages 7-28, March.
    3. Colantone, Italo & Crinò, Rosario, 2014. "New imported inputs, new domestic products," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 147-165.
    4. Joaquin BLAUM & Claire LELARGE & Michael PEETERS, 2018. "Do firms benefit equally from trade in inputs?," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 70, October.
    5. Piotr Gabrielczak & Tomasz Serwach, 2016. "Firm-level productivity and international expansion of firms from the Lodz Voivodeship," Lodz Economics Working Papers 7/2016, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology.
    6. Li, Yifan & Miao, Zhuang, 2018. "Trade costs, import penetration, and markups," MPRA Paper 85668, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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