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The Choice of Modeling Firm Heterogeneity and Trade Restrictions

  • Matthew T Cole

    (University College Dublin)

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.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/wp09.20.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200920.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200920
Contact details of provider: Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
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Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Lawless, Martina & Whelan, Karl, 2008. "Where do Firms Export, How Much and Why?," Research Technical Papers 6/RT/08, Central Bank of Ireland.
  3. Jan G. Jorgensen & Philipp J. H. Schröder, 2005. "Tariffs and Firm-Level Heterogeneous Fixed Export Costs," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 496, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  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. Richard Baldwin, 1988. "Hysteresis In Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," NBER Working Papers 2545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  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. Richard E. Baldwin & Rikard Forslid, 2010. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogeneous Firms," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 161-176, 05.
  9. 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.
  10. David Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," 2004 Meeting Papers 530, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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