nep-int New Economics Papers
on International Trade
Issue of 2006‒12‒16
24 papers chosen by
Martin Berka
Massey University

  1. Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring By Gene M. Grossman; Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
  2. Home market effect, regulation costs and heterogeneous firms By Toshihiro Okubo; Vincent Rebeyrol
  3. Intra-Industry Trade, Multilateral Trade Integration, and Invasive Species Risk By Tu, Anh T.; Beghin, John C.
  4. On some effects of international fragmentation of production on comparative advantages, trade flows, and the income of countries By Salvatore Baldone; Fabio Sdogati; Lucia Tajoli
  5. Nontariff Barriers By Beghin, John C.
  6. What Do Trade Negotiators Negotiate About? Empirical Evidence from the World Trade Organization By Kyle Bagwell; Robert W. Staiger
  7. Economic Integration in Asia: Bilateral Free Trade Agreements Versus Asian Single Market By Hedi Bchir; Michel Fouquin
  8. Do Trade Policy Differences Induce Sorting? Theory and Evidence from Bangladeshi Apparel Exporters By Svetlana Demidova; Hiau Looi Kee; Kala Krishna
  9. Vertical Production Networks: Evidence from France By Michel Fouquin; Laurence Nayman; Laurent Wagner
  10. Import Prices, Variety and the Extensive Margin of Trade By Guillaume Gaulier; Isabelle Mejean
  11. A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis By Juan Carlos Hallak
  12. Would protectionism defuse global imbalances and spur economic activity?: a scenario analysis By Hamid Faruqee; Douglas Laxton; Dirk Muir; Paolo Pesenti
  13. The Effect of Economic Reforms of 1980s and of the Customs Union 1996 upon the Turkish Intra-Industry Trade By Sule Akkoyunlu; Konstantin A. Kholodilin; Boriss Siliverstovs
  14. Financial market imperfections and the impact of exchange rate movements By Nicolas Berman; Antoine Berthou
  15. International Reserves Management and the Current Account By Joshua Aizenman
  16. Oil dependence and economic instability By Luís Aguiar-Conraria; Yi Wen
  17. Do capital market and trade liberalization trigger labor market deregulation ? By Hervé Boulhol
  18. The Politics of Inclusion in the Monterrey Process By Barry Herman
  19. Outward investments and skill upgrading. Evidence from the Italian case By Davide Castellani; Ilaria Mariotti; Lucia Piscitello
  20. Monetary Policy in a Small Open Economy with a Preference for Robustness By Richard Dennis, Kai Leitemo and Ulf Soderstrom
  21. The Dual Divergence: Growth Successes and Collapses in the Developing World since 1980 By José Antonio Ocampo; María Angela Parra
  22. Pricing to Habits and the Law of One Price By Morten Ravn; Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe; Martin Uribe
  23. Service Offshoring: A Challenge for Employment? Evidence from Germany By Deborah Schöller
  24. New technology, Human Capital and Growth for Developing Countries By Cuong Le Van; Manh-Hung Nguyen; Thai Bao Luong

  1. By: Gene M. Grossman; Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
    Abstract: For centuries, most international trade involved an exchange of complete goods. But, with recent improvements in transportation and communications technology, it increasingly entails different countries adding value to global supply chains, or what might be called "trade in tasks." We propose a new conceptualization of the global production process that focuses on tradable tasks and use it to study how falling costs of offshoring affect factor prices in the source country. We identify a productivity effect of task trade that benefits the factor whose tasks are more easily moved offshore. In the light of this effect, reductions in the cost of trading tasks can generate shared gains for all domestic factors, in contrast to the distributional conflict that typically results from reductions in the cost of trading goods.
    JEL: F11 F16
    Date: 2006–12
  2. By: Toshihiro Okubo (HEI Genève - [Hautes Etudes Internationales, Genève]); Vincent Rebeyrol (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I])
    Abstract: This paper studies how market-specific entry sunk costs (regulation costs) affect the Home Market Effect (HME) with firm heterogeneity in marginal costs. our model is based on the Dixit-Stiglitz monopolistic competition model with firm heterogeneity plus regulation costs difference. We find that a regulation costs gap works as dispersion force by inducing a market potential gap, which reduces the HME and could cause the reverse HME or the anti-HME. The HME first rises and then fall in terms of trade openness, whereas the HME rises in terms of regulation costs gap coordination by technical barriers to trade (TBT) agreements. Firm heterogeneity dampens the dispersion force by the regulation costs difference and thus works as an agglomeration force. Firm heterogeneity causes a perfect spatial sorting, in which a large country attracts only high productivity firms, and vice versa.
    Keywords: Home market effect, firm heterogeneity, regulation costs, technical barriers to trade.
    Date: 2006–12–06
  3. By: Tu, Anh T.; Beghin, John C.
    Abstract: We analyze the linkage between protectionism and invasive species (IS) hazard in the context of two-way trade and multilateral trade integration, two major features of real-world agricultural trade. Multilateral integration includes the joint reduction of tariffs and trade costs among trading partners. Multilateral trade integration is more likely to increase damages from IS than predicted by unilateral trade opening under the classic Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson (HOS) framework because domestic production (the base susceptible to damages) is likely to increase with expanding export markets. A country integrating its trade with a partner characterized by relatively higher tariff and trade costs is also more likely to experience increased IS damages via expanded domestic production for the same reason. We illustrate our analytical results with a stylized model of the world wheat market.
    Keywords: exotic pest, intra-industry trade, invasive species, liberalization, trade cost, trade integration, trade protection, two-way trade.
    Date: 2006–12–11
  4. By: Salvatore Baldone (Polytechnic University of Milano, Italy.); Fabio Sdogati (Polytechnic University of Milano, Italy.); Lucia Tajoli (Polytechnic University of Milano and Cespri Bocconi University, Milano, Italy.)
    Abstract: In traditional trade models, whether based on technological differences or on relative factor endowments, merchandise composition and directions of trade are derived from closed-economy, pre-trade conditions. But nowadays one the basic assumptions of traditional trade models, i.e. that production processes are integrated within just one country, is being increasingly violated as previously integrated productive activities are segmented and spread over an international network of production sites: as a result, an increasingly large share of trade flows is made up of intermediate and unfinished goods being transferred from one country to another in order to be processed. In this paper we submit that such new configuration of production processes has important effects on at least three dimensions of economic research. First, we show that international disintegration of production processes leads to a lessening of the power of comparative advantages when it comes to explaining both merchandise composition and directions of trade, while it is the concept of absolute advantage to become increasingly relevant; second, we show that empirical measures of revealed comparative advantages are inherently misleading if they do not account for differences in the stageof-processing of traded goods; third, we estimate a simple model of aggregate demand accounting for international trade in intermediates: results of estimation lend support to our prior that participation of a country in the process of international fragmentation of production plays a specific and significant role in determining its year-over-year change in GDP.
    Keywords: International division of labor, Absolute and comparative advantages, International fragmentation of production, Processing trade.
    JEL: F10 F15
    Date: 2006–11
  5. By: Beghin, John C.
    Abstract: Nontariff barriers (NTBs) refer to the wide range of policy interventions other than border tariffs that affect trade of goods, services, and factors of production. Most taxonomies of NTBs include market-specific trade and domestic policies affecting trade in that market. Extended taxonomies include macro-economic policies affecting trade. NTBs have gained importance as tariff levels have been reduced worldwide. Common measures of NTBs include tariff-equivalents of the NTB policy or policies and count and frequency measures of NTBs. These NTB measures are subsequently used in various trade models, including gravity equations, to assess trade and/or welfare effects of the measured NTBs.
    Keywords: externality and trade, nontariff barrier, NTB, protectionism, sanitary and phytosanitary, SPS, standards, TBT, technical barrier to trade.
    Date: 2006–12–08
  6. By: Kyle Bagwell; Robert W. Staiger
    Abstract: What do trade negotiators negotiate about? There are two distinct theoretical approaches in the economics literature that offer an answer to this question: the terms-of-trade theory and the commitment theory. The terms-of-trade theory holds that trade agreements are useful to governments as a means of helping them escape from a terms-of-trade-driven Prisoners' Dilemma. The commitment theory holds that trade agreements are useful to governments as a means of helping them make commitments to the private sector. These theories are not mutually exclusive, but there is little direct evidence on the empirical relevance of either. We attempt to investigate empirically the purpose served by market access commitments negotiated in the World Trade Organization. We find broad support for the terms-of-trade theory in the data. We claim more tentatively to find support in the data for the commitment theory as well.
    JEL: F02 F1 F11 F13 F15 F5 F51 F53 F59
    Date: 2006–12
  7. By: Hedi Bchir; Michel Fouquin
    Abstract: Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII’s CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia’s economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion. Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.
    Keywords: Computable general Equilibrium Models; economic integration; Asia; trade simulation; models; Mirage; FTA; market access
    JEL: D58 F15 N85
    Date: 2006–10
  8. By: Svetlana Demidova; Hiau Looi Kee; Kala Krishna
    Abstract: This paper provides new testable predictions of heterogeneous firm (HF) models for trade. Variations in trade policy, trade preferences, and the rules of origin (ROOs) needed to obtain them are incorporated into the model and some analytical means of dealing with the resulting asymmetries are developed. The policy differences modelled correspond to differences across products and destination markets for Bangladeshi garment exports to the US and EU. These turn out to provide an interesting natural experiment. Predictions of the model for the distribution of TFP of various groups of firms are tested non-parametrically and are supported by the data.
    JEL: F12 F13
    Date: 2006–12
  9. By: Michel Fouquin; Laurence Nayman; Laurent Wagner
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of intra-firm trade of multinational firms located in France, using data on French companies. Results on the vertical pattern of production networks differ according to the affiliates’ location. Lower wage and transportation costs in the developing countries increase, as expected, the vertical segmentation of production. In the developed countries, lower trade and unit wage costs, and hence, a strong and positive labour productivity matter a lot in explaining French MNCs’ preferences. Among the other variables of interest, partnership and market potential have been given special attention. The results substantiate a mix of vertical and horizontal FDI, mainly when we separate out capital intensive from labour intensive intermediate products.
    Keywords: Multinational firms; intra-firm trade; intermediate products; vertical production networks; horizontal FDI; globalization; segmentation; productivity; international comparison; factor costs
    JEL: F23 F10 L10
    Date: 2006–11
  10. By: Guillaume Gaulier; Isabelle Mejean
    Abstract: This paper studies the aggregate price effect of newly imported varieties and compares it in a sample of countries. The method allows to quantify the measurement bias in import price indices that take as given the basket of imported varieties and neglect the aggregate effect of increased diversity. Applying it to the BACI database describing bilateral trade flows at the world level, we are able to compare the aggregate price impact of the extensive margin of trade among 28 countries. Our results suggest that, in the 1994-2003 period, neglecting newly imported varieties leads to overestimate in the import price level by 0.2% a year, on average. The magnitude of this effect however strongly varies across countries, this overestimation being especially strong in some emerging countries like India, Indonesia or Brazil.
    Keywords: Extensive margin; import price indices; real exchange rate determinants; panel data; BACI
    JEL: F10 F12 F41
    Date: 2006–11
  11. By: Juan Carlos Hallak
    Abstract: The Linder hypothesis states that countries of similar income per capita should trade more intensely with one another. This hypothesis has attracted substantial research over decades, but the empirical evidence has failed to provide consistent support for it. This paper shows that the reason for the failure is the use of an inappropriate empirical benchmark, the gravity equation estimated using trade data aggregated across sectors. The paper builds a theoretical framework in which, as in Linder's theory, product quality plays the central role. A formal derivation of the Linder hypothesis is obtained, but this hypothesis is shown to hold only if it is formulated as a sector-level prediction. The "sectoral Linder hypothesis" is then estimated on a sample of 64 countries in 1995. The results support the prediction: after controlling for inter-sectoral determinants of trade, countries of similar per-capita income trade more intensely with one another. The paper also shows that a systematic aggregation bias explains the failure of the previous empirical literature to find support for Linder's theory.
    JEL: D12 F1 F12
    Date: 2006–12
  12. By: Hamid Faruqee; Douglas Laxton; Dirk Muir; Paolo Pesenti
    Abstract: In the evolving analysis of global imbalances, the possibility that countries will resort to increased protectionism is often mentioned but rarely analyzed. This paper attempts to fill that gap, examining the macroeconomic implications of a shift to protectionist policies through the lens of a dynamic general equilibrium model of the world economy that encompasses four regional blocs. Simulation exercises are carried out to assess the consequences of imposing uniform and discriminatory tariffs on trading partners as well as the consequences of tariff retaliation. We also discuss a scenario in which a ?globalization backlash? lowers the degree of competition in import-competing sectors, and compare the implications of higher markups in the product and labor markets.
    Keywords: Tariff ; Imports ; International trade ; Competition
    Date: 2006
  13. By: Sule Akkoyunlu; Konstantin A. Kholodilin; Boriss Siliverstovs
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the impact of the economic reforms implemented in 1980s and of the Custom Union Agreement of 1996 on the intra-industry trade in Turkey. Using the panel data for 15 trading partners of Turkey and the sample period 1970-2005, we record the positive impact of both reforms with the former reforms exercising stronger influence on the intra-industry trade measured either by the Grubel-Lloyd or the Brülhart's indices. We also control for other factors like economic size, difference in income per capita and in economic size between Turkey and its trading partners in our empirical regressions.
    Keywords: Intra-industry trade; Customs Union Agreement; panel data estimation.
    JEL: C23 F14
    Date: 2006
  14. By: Nicolas Berman (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I]); Antoine Berthou (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I])
    Abstract: This paper analyses empirically the role of financial market imperfections in the way countries' exports react to a currency depreciation. Using quarterly data for 27 developed and developing countries over the period 1990-2005, we find that the impact of a depreciation on exports will be less positive - or even negative - for a country if : (i) firms borrow in foreign currency ; (ii) they are credit constrained ; (iii) they are specialized in industries that require more external capital ; (iv) the magnitude of depreciation or devaluation is large. This last result emphasizes the existence of a non-linear relationship between an exchange rate depreciation and the reaction of a country's exports when financial imperfections are observed. This offers a new explanation for the consequences of recent currency crises in middle income countries.
    Keywords: International trade, exchange rate movements, balance-sheets effects, financial market imperfections.
    Date: 2006–12–06
  15. By: Joshua Aizenman
    Abstract: The paper assesses the costs and benefits of active international reserve management (IRM), shedding light on the question of how intense should IRM be for an emerging market. In principle, an active IRM strategy could lower real exchange rate volatility induced by terms of trade shocks; provide self insurance against sudden stops; reduce the speed of adjustment of the current account; and even allow for higher growth if it fosters exports ("mercantilist" motive). The message of the report is mixed -- management of reserves is not a panacea. The mercantilist case for hoarding international reserves, as an ingredient of an export led growth strategy, is dubious. Done properly, IRM augments macro economic management in turbulent times, mitigating the impact of external adverse shocks and allowing for a smoother current account adjustment. These benefits are especially important for commodity exporting countries, and countries with limited financial development.
    JEL: F15 F32 F36 F4
    Date: 2006–12
  16. By: Luís Aguiar-Conraria; Yi Wen
    Abstract: We show that dependence on foreign energy can increase economic instability by raising the likelihood of equilibrium indeterminacy, hence making fluctuations driven by self-fulfilling expectations easier to occur. This is demonstrated in a standard neoclassical growth model. Calibration exercises, based on the estimated share of imported energy in production for several countries, show that the degree of reliance on foreign energy for many countries can easily make an otherwise determinate and stable economy indeterminate and unstable.
    Keywords: Petroleum industry and trade ; Economic stabilization
    Date: 2006
  17. By: Hervé Boulhol (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I])
    Abstract: Previous analyses showed that product market deregulation often precedes labor market (LM) reforms. This paper introduces LM imperfections within an economic geography framework, the level of optimal LM regulation being based on each country's social preferences. Due to capital mobility, opening the economy to a country with a deregulated LM puts pressure on LM institutions. As the fall in trade costs increases the intensity of the agglomeration force, LM regulation loses in efficiency. The threat of relocation drives changes in LM policy, with suggests that the effect of liberalization might be found primarily in the weakening of employment protection, resulting in minimal actual relocations.
    Keywords: Deregulation, wage bargaining, capital mobility, agglomeration, relocations.
    Date: 2006–12–07
  18. By: Barry Herman
    Abstract: The Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development in 2002 brought leaders and senior officials from Governments and international organizations, senior financial sector executives and NGO advocates together for the first time on “hard” financial and trade matters. The Conference provided a forum at which participants talked to each other in informal roundtables, as well as made public speeches. Commitments were made to increase development assistance and to improve global as well as national governance. This paper examines how this unique event came about, traces the backsliding in international dialogue since then, and suggests how it could be reinvigorated.
    Keywords: Development fi nancing; global dialogue; United Nations; North-South relations
    JEL: F02 F33 O10 O19
    Date: 2006–04
  19. By: Davide Castellani (University of Urbino,Italy.); Ilaria Mariotti (DIG-Polytechnic University of Milano, Italy.); Lucia Piscitello (DIG-Polytechnic University of Milano, Italy.)
    Abstract: The present paper investigates the effect of outward investments by Italian manufacturing firms on the domestic employment level and on its skill composition, as measured by the increase in the aggregate share of skilled workers (managers and clerks) in total employment. In doing so, the paper extends the existing empirical literature on the Italian case that has so far provided evidence on the changes in the employment intensity but not on the composition of the domestic employment. We carry out an analysis at the firm level based on the the behaviour of 108 Italian firms, which became multinational for the first time in 1998-2003, investing in either developed countries, CEECs or other developing economies, compared with the behaviour of a counterfactual group of firms constituted by 2,500 national firms that never invested abroad in the considered period. The econometric analysis supports that the internationalisation of activities by manufacturing firms does not reduce their domestic employment, independently of the destination of the investment, and that it may change the division of labour within the firm, thus leading to a higher share of skilled labour intensive activities, especially as a result of investments in CEECs.
    Keywords: Foreign direct investment, Employment, Skill-upgrading.
    JEL: F2 J21
    Date: 2006–11
  20. By: Richard Dennis, Kai Leitemo and Ulf Soderstrom
    Abstract: We use robust control techniques to study the effects of model uncertainty on monetary policy in an estimated, semi-structural, small-open-economy model of the U.K. Compared to the closed economy, the presence of an exchange rate channel for monetary policy not only produces new trade-offs for monetary policy, but it also introduces an additional source of specification errors. We find that exchange rate shocks are an important contributor to volatility in the model, and that the exchange rate equation is particularly vulnerable to model misspecification, along with the equation for domestic inflation. However, when policy is set with discretion, the cost of insuring against model misspecification appears reasonably small.
  21. By: José Antonio Ocampo; María Angela Parra
    Abstract: This paper argues that developing countries’ growth successes and collapses tend to cluster in specific time periods—and that only the existence of a global development cycle can explain this. The cycle reflects the external factors that affect all, or large clusters of developing countries, and thus constrain their growth possibilities. Nonetheless, country-specific factors—particularly patterns of specialization—play a significant role in determining growth dynamics. From this perspective, the paper shows a very large difference between the economic growth of developing countries diversifying into higher technology manufacturing exports and those experiencing success in natural resource intensive sectors.
    Keywords: economic growth, divergence, external factors, global development cycle, patterns of specialization, technological intensity of exports
    JEL: O1 O14 F1 F4 F43
    Date: 2006–06
  22. By: Morten Ravn; Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe; Martin Uribe
    Abstract: This paper proposes a novel international transmission mechanism based on the assumption of deep habits. The term deep habits stands for a preference specification according to which consumers form habits on a good-by-good basis. Under deep habits, firms face more elastic demand functions in markets where nonhabitual demand is high relative to habitual demand, creating an incentive to price discriminate. We refer to this type of price discrimination as pricing to habits. In the presence of pricing to habits, innovations to domestic aggregate demand induce a decline in markups in the domestic country but not abroad, leading to a departure from the law of one price. In this way, the proposed pricing-to-habit mechanism can explain the observation that prices of the same good across countries, expressed in the same currency, vary over the business cycle. Furthermore, it can account for the empirical fact that in response to a positive domestic demand shock, such as an increase in government spending, the real exchange rate depreciates, domestic consumption expands, and the trade balance deteriorates.
    JEL: E3 F4
    Date: 2006–12
  23. By: Deborah Schöller (Universität Hohenheim)
    Abstract: Besides material offshoring, economists have started to analyze the impact of service offshoring on domestic employment. Services are of particular interest since their significance has grown not only in terms of quantity, but also of qualitative understanding. One decade ago, most services were considered non-tradable, but the appearance of new information and communication technologies has contributed to overcoming geographical distance. The introduction of the paper aims at giving an appropriate definition of service offshoring also taking into account the different motives behind offshoring. The theoretical part gives a brief literature overview of the predicted effects of offshoring on domestic employment. The empirical part first compares import data of computing and information as well as other business services and states that service offshoring is more relevant in Germany than in most other countries. Secondly, German service offshoring intensities are calculated on a sectoral basis using input-output data. This measurement represents the proportion of imported service inputs used in home production. Germany’s average service offshoring intensity more than doubled from 1991 to 2002. Besides this, indications for a possible negative correlation between German service offshoring and manufacturing employment are given. Thirdly, the impact of service offshoring on German domestic manufacturing employment is estimated at a sectoral level. The author refers to the labor demand specification of Hamermesh using sectoral wages, output and other input prices as exogenous variables. The estimation results indicate that service offshoring was negatively related to manufacturing employment in Germany between 1991 and 2000.
    Keywords: Service Offshoring, Employment, Globalization
    JEL: F1 F2
    Date: 2006–12
  24. By: Cuong Le Van (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I]); Manh-Hung Nguyen (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I]); Thai Bao Luong (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I], CEPN - Centre d'économie de l'Université de Paris Nord - [CNRS : UMR7115] - [Université Paris-Nord - Paris XIII])
    Abstract: We consider a developing country with three sectors in economy: consumption goods, new technology, and education. Productivity of the consumption goods sector depends on new technology and skilled labor used for production of the new technology. We show that there might be three stages of economic growth. In the first stage the country concentrates on production of consumption goods; in the second stage it requires the country to import both physical capital to produce consumption goods and new technology capital to produce new technology; and finally the last stage is one where the country needs to import new technology capital and invest in the training and education of high skilled labor in the same time.
    Keywords: Optimal growth model, New technology capital, Human Capital, Developing country.
    Date: 2006–12–07

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