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Dynamic Selection and the New Gains from Trade with Heterogeneous Firms

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  • Thomas Sampson

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Sampson, 2013. "Dynamic Selection and the New Gains from Trade with Heterogeneous Firms," FIW Working Paper series 122, FIW.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsr:wpaper:y:2013:i:122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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 950-959, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    5. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
    6. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Pessoa, João Paulo & Sampson, Thomas & Van Reenen, John, 2014. "The costs and benefits of leaving the EU," CFS Working Paper Series 472, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gains from Trade; Endogenous Growth; Firm Heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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