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Imported Inputs and the Gains from Trade

Listed author(s):
  • Ananth Ramanarayanan

    (University of Western Ontario)

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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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_612.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 612.

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Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:612
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-1721, September.
  2. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Amit Kumar Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2010. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1727-1767.
  3. Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 857-880.
  4. Liu, Lili, 1993. "Entry-exit, learning, and productivity change Evidence from Chile," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 217-242, December.
  5. Biscourp, Pierre & Kramarz, Francis, 2007. "Employment, skill structure and international trade: Firm-level evidence for France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 22-51, May.
  6. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1611-1638, December.
  7. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151-1199.
  8. Gita Gopinath & Brent Neiman, 2014. "Trade Adjustment and Productivity in Large Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 793-831, March.
  9. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Rodrigue, Joel, 2008. "Does the use of imported intermediates increase productivity? Plant-level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 106-118, August.
  10. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-555.
  11. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  12. repec:hhs:iuiwop:430 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
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