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- PublicationThe Impact of Protection on Observed Productivity DistributionsAs is well established, one prediction of the heterogenous firms literature spearheaded by Melitz (2003) is that trade liberalization, by increasing import competition, drives less productive domestic firms from the market. This increases average productivity of the domestic economy via the “selection effect”. In addition, it has the potential to affect the skewness of the observed productivity distribution, i.e. the gap between the productivity of the median firm and average productivity. We examine these predictions empirically using data on 28 sectors across 99 countries. On the whole, we find that higher protection levels lower average productivity and drive a larger wedge between mean and median productivity. This latter suggests that policy decisions based on mean outcomes may arrive at different conclusions than those based on median voters.
- PublicationThe Infant Industry Argument: Tariffs, NTMs and InnovationOne rationale for the infant industry argument is that, by protecting domestic firms from foreign competition, this increases rents and investment in innovation and other growth enhancing measures. Using data on 4,750 firms across 13 developing countries, we examine whether protection via tariffs or non-tariff measures (SPS and TBT specifically) increase innovation in either products or processes. We find no such evidence; instead we find a small negative impact of protection, particularly tariffs and TBTs, on innovation.