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Dynamic Selection and the New Gains from Trade with Heterogeneous Firms

  • Thomas Sampson

    (LSE)

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    This paper develops an open economy growth model in which firm heterogeneity increases the gains from trade. Technology spillovers from incumbent firms to entrants cause the productivity threshold for firm survival to grow over time as competition becomes tougher. By raising the profits of exporters, trade increases the entry rate and generates a dynamic selection effect that leads to higher growth. The paper shows that the gains from trade can be decomposed into: static gains that equal the total gains from trade in an economy without technology spillovers, and; dynamic gains that are strictly positive. Since trade raises growth through selection, not scale effects, the positive growth effect of trade vanishes when firms are homogeneous. Thus, firm heterogeneity creates a new source of dynamic gains from trade. Calibrating the model to the U.S. economy implies that dynamic selection approximately triples the gains from trade.

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    File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2013/paper_125.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 125.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:125
    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
    Fax: 1-314-444-8731
    Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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    1. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
    2. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Tetsugen Haruyama & Laixun Zhao, 2008. "Trade and Firm Heterogeneity In A Quality-Ladder Model of Growth," Discussion Paper Series 223, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    5. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
    6. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2005. "Production risk and the functional distribution of income in a developing economy: tradeoffs and policy responses," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 175-208, February.
    7. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-84, August.
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