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Not all trade restrictions are created equally

  • Matthew T. Cole

There has been great focus in the recent trade theory literature on the introduction of firm heterogeneity into trade models. This introduction has highlighted the importance of the entry/exit decision of firms in response to changes in trade barriers. However, it is typical in many of these models to use iceberg transport costs as a general form of trade barriers that can be interchangeable with ad valorem tariffs. I show that this is not always an appropriate conclusion. Specifically, I illustrate that profit for an exporter is more elastic in response to tariffs than iceberg transport costs, which has implications for total product variety. One such implication is the possibility for there to be an anti-variety effect associated with lower transport costs while there also being a pro-variety effect associated with lower tariffs.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2642
File Function: First version, 2010
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201009.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201009
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  1. Matthew A. Cole & Robert J. R. Elliott & Supreeya Virakul, 2010. "Firm Heterogeneity, Origin of Ownership and Export Participation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 264-291, 02.
  2. 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.
  3. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  4. Ronald B. Davies & Carsten Eckel, 2007. "Tax Competition for Heterogeneous Firms with Endogenous Entry: The Case of Heterogeneous Fixed Costs," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2007-7, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  5. Baldwin, Richard, 1988. "Hyteresis in Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 773-85, September.
  6. Martina Lawless & Karl Whelan, 2008. "Where do firms export, how much, and why?," Working Papers 200821, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  7. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Baldwin, Richard & Forslid, Rikard, 2004. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4635, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  10. Matthew T. Cole, 2010. "Distorted trade barriers : a comment on “distorted gravity"," Working Papers 201019, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  11. Schmitt, Nicolas & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Economies of scale and the volume of intra-industry trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 127-132, December.
  12. Svetlana Demidova & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2007. "Trade Policy under Firm-Level Heterogeneity in a Small Economy," NBER Working Papers 13688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ronald B. Davies & Carsten Eckel, 2007. "Tax Competition for Heterogeneous Firms with Endogenous Entry," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2007-6, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  14. repec:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:1:p:295-316 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Sébastien Jean, 2000. "International Trade and Firms’ Heterogeneity Under Monopolistic Competition," Working Papers 2000-13, CEPII research center.
  16. Johannes Becker, 2013. "Taxation of Foreign Profits with Heterogeneous Multinational Firms," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(1), pages 76-92, 01.
  17. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. repec:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:3:p:985-985 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, 09.
  20. Zhihao Yu, 2002. "Entrepreneurship and intra-industry trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 138(2), pages 277-290, June.
  21. Jørgensen, Jan G. & Schröder, Philipp J.H., 2008. "Fixed export cost heterogeneity, trade and welfare," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1256-1274, October.
  22. 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.
  23. Irarrazabal, Alfonso & Moxnes, Andreas & Opromolla, Luca David, 2010. "The Tip of the Iceberg: Modeling Trade Costs and Implications for Intra-Industry Reallocation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7685, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Davin Chor, 2006. "Subsidies for FDI: Implications from a Model with Heterogenous Firms," 2006 Meeting Papers 475, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  25. Jonathan EATON, Samuel KORTUM, Francis KRAMARZ, 2008. "An Anatomy of International Trade : Evidence from French Firms” ~We examine the sales of French manufacturing ?rms in 113 destinations, including Franceitself. Several regularities stand out: (1) the ," Working Papers 2008-29, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
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