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Market presence, contestability, and the terms-of-trade effects of regional integration


  • Schiff, Maurice
  • Chang, Won


How firms react to a given shock may depend on the degree to which rivals are present and on whether potentially viable entrants to that market exist. The authors try to measure these effects internationally by examining the price behavior of the United States in Brazil's market when MERCOSUR trade liberalization and most-favored-nation (MFN) trade liberalization take place. Using detailed panel data on trade and tariff rates, they find that both the market presence of a preferred supplier and expected entry lessen the U.S. price reaction to MFN trade liberalization and increase the U.S. price reaction to preferential trade liberalization. Argentina's presence in Brazil's market results in a smaller U.S. price response to Brazil's MFN tariff change and in a larger response to a preferential tariff change. More surprisingly, the quantitative effects of market presence and expected entry (contestability) are not significantly different from each other. Contestability plays no significant role when Argentina's is absent from Brazil's market, contestability lessens the U.S. response to changes in the MFN tariff and increases it in response to changes in the preferential tariff. It follows from these results that presence in, as well as threat of entry into, partners'markets implies lower optimal external tariffs and suggests that regional agreements can have pro-competitive effects in the presence of contestability. The authors also examine the hypothesis of"symmetry"between the effect of tariffs and that of exchange rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Schiff, Maurice & Chang, Won, 2001. "Market presence, contestability, and the terms-of-trade effects of regional integration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2532, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2532

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feenstra, Robert C., 1989. "Symmetric pass-through of tariffs and exchange rates under imperfect competition: An empirical test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 25-45, August.
    2. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1243-1272, September.
    3. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    4. Won Chang & L. Alan Winters, 2002. "How Regional Blocs Affect Excluded Countries: The Price Effects of MERCOSUR," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 889-904, September.
    5. Feenstra, Robert C., 1995. "Estimating the effects of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1553-1595 Elsevier.
    6. Olarreaga, Marcelo & Soloaga, Isidro, 1998. "Endogenous Tariff Formation: The Case of Mercosur," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 297-320, May.
    7. Winters, L. Alan & Chang, Won, 2000. "Regional integration and import prices: an empirical investigation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 363-377, August.
    8. Winters, L Alan, 1997. "Regionalism and the Rest of the World: The Irrelevance of the Kemp-Wan Theorem," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 228-234, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle Bagwell & Chad P. Bown & Robert W. Staiger, 2016. "Is the WTO Passé?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1125-1231, December.
    2. Céline CARRERE, 2011. "A new measure of tariff preference margins adjusted for import and domestic competition," Working Papers P19, FERDI.
    3. Céline Carrère & Maurice Schiff, 2005. "On the Geography of Trade. Distance is Alive and Well," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 56(6), pages 1249-1274.
    4. Mattoo, Aaditya & Fink, Carsten, 2002. "Regional agreements and trade services - policy issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2852, The World Bank.


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