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The choice of modeling firm heterogeneity and trade restrictions

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  • Matthew T. Cole

Abstract

There has been great focus in the recent trade theory literature on the introduction of firm heterogeneity into trade models. However, these models tend to rely heavily on symmetry assumptions and assume melting iceberg transport costs as the only form of trade restrictions. Moreover, a standard assumption is that firms differ across marginal cost, yet empirical evidence suggests this is not the only important source of heterogeneity. I provide a highly tractable model, in which firms differ across fixed costs, that qualitatively maintains the main results of these models, but allows for asymmetric changes in trade restrictions, a necessary step towards studying strategic trade policy. In addition, I highlight the differences in the effects on product variety associated with changes in an ad valorem tariff, iceberg transport costs, and additional beachhead costs to become an exporter. This is important as there are potential offsetting effects on firm entry.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew T. Cole, 2009. "The choice of modeling firm heterogeneity and trade restrictions," Working Papers 200920, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200920
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2618
    File Function: First version, 2009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
    2. Richard E. Baldwin & Rikard Forslid, 2010. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogeneous Firms," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 161-176, May.
    3. Jørgensen Jan Guldager & Schröder Philipp J. H., 2006. "Tariffs and Firm-Level Heterogeneous Fixed Export Costs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-17, July.
    4. Ronald B. Davies & Carsten Eckel, 2010. "Tax Competition for Heterogeneous Firms with Endogenous Entry," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 77-102, February.
    5. Demidova, Svetlana & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2009. "Trade policy under firm-level heterogeneity in a small economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 100-112, June.
    6. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    7. Ronald B. Davies & Carsten Eckel, 2007. "Tax Competition for Heterogeneous Firms with Endogenous Entry:The Case of Heterogeneous Fixed Costs," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp213, IIIS.
    8. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
    9. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    10. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1384-1402, December.
    11. Martina Lawless & Karl Whelan, 2014. "Where Do Firms Export, How Much and Why?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(8), pages 1027-1050, August.
    12. Baldwin, Richard, 1988. "Hyteresis in Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 773-785, September.
    13. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bauer, Christian & Davies, Ronald B. & Haufler, Andreas, 2014. "Economic integration and the optimal corporate tax structure with heterogeneous firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 42-56.
    2. Ronald Davies & Lourenço Paz, 2011. "Tariffs versus VAT in the presence of heterogeneous firms and an informal sector," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(5), pages 533-554, October.
    3. Matthew T. Cole & Ronald B. Davies, 2009. "Optimal tariffs, tariff jumping, and heterogeneous firms," Working Papers 200919, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. Jan Jørgensen & Philipp Schröder & Zhihao Yu, 2012. "Globalization beyond partitioning: back to Krugman’s world," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(1), pages 73-87, April.
    5. Cole, Matthew T. & Davies, Ronald B., 2011. "Strategic tariffs, tariff jumping, and heterogeneous firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 480-496, May.
    6. Igor Bagayev & Ronald B. Davies, 2017. "The Impact of Protection on Observed Productivity Distributions," Working Papers 201705, School of Economics, University College Dublin.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intra-industry trade; Trade policy; Firm heterogeneity; Monopolistic competition; Intra-industry trade--Econometric models; Commercial policy; Monopolistic competition;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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