Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Publication
    Not all trade restrictions are created equally
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-04)
    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.
      331
  • Publication
    The choice of modeling firm heterogeneity and trade restrictions
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2009-10-23)
    There has been great focus in the recent trade theory literature on the introduction of firm heterogeneity into trade models. However, these models tend to rely heavily on symmetry assumptions and assume melting iceberg transport costs as the only form of trade restrictions. Moreover, a standard assumption is that firms differ across marginal cost, yet empirical evidence suggests this is not the only important source of heterogeneity. I provide a highly tractable model, in which firms differ across fixed costs, that qualitatively maintains the main results of these models, but allows for asymmetric changes in trade restrictions, a necessary step towards studying strategic trade policy. In addition, I highlight the differences in the effects on product variety associated with changes in an ad valorem tariff, iceberg transport costs, and additional beachhead costs to become an exporter. This is important as there are potential offsetting effects on firm entry.
      155
  • Publication
    Royale with cheese : the effect of globalization on the variety of goods
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-07) ;
    The key result of the so-called “New Trade Theory” is that countries gain from falling trade costs by an increase in the number of varieties available to consumers. Though the number of varieties in a given country rises, it is also true that global variety decreases from increased competition wherein imported varieties drive out some local varieties. This second result is a major issue for anti-trade activists who criticize the move towards free trade as promoting “homogenization” or “Americanization” of varieties across countries. We present a model of endogenous entry with heterogeneous firms which models this concern in two ways: a portion of a consumer’s income is spent overseas (i.e. tourism) and an existence value (a common tool in environmental economics where simply knowing that a species exists provides utility). Since lowering trade costs induces additional varieties to export and drives out some non-exported varieties, these modifications result in welfare losses not accounted for in the existing literature. Nevertheless, it is only through the existence value that welfare can fall as a result of declining trade barriers. Thus, for these criticisms of globalization to dominate, it must be that this loss in the existence value outweighs the direct benefits from consumption.
      210
  • Publication
    Optimal tariffs with FDI : the evidence
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2011-09-19) ;
    Recent theoretical work suggests that the presence of foreign direct investment (FDI) lowers a country’s noncooperative Nash tariff. To test this hypothesis, we first adapt the theoretical model formulated by Blanchard (2010) to derive an intuitive, empirically testable equation. This equation is an augmentation of the standard formula equal to the inverse of export supply elasticity. Using constructed estimates of export supply elasticities and measures of FDI, we test this hypothesis with respect to tariffs set by China prior to 2001. We focus on China before its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO) for two primary reasons: first, China is a recipient of FDI during this time; and second, prior to becoming a WTO member China can be seen as a player in a noncooperative game. We find evidence to suggest that before entering the WTO, China chooses lower tariffs, ceteris paribus, for industries that receive more FDI. This is an important result since having a better understanding of how countries act unilaterally will provide insight into the multilateral cooperative outcome; that is trade negotiations.
      289
  • Publication
    Foreign bidders going once, going twice... Protection in government procurement auctions
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2014-02) ;
    Until recently, government procurement bidding processes have generally favored domestic firms by awarding the contract to a domestic firm even if a foreign firm tenders a lower bid, so long as the difference between the two is sufficiently small. This has been replaced by an agreement abolishing this practice. However, the presence of other trade barriers, such as tariffs, can continue to disadvantage foreign firms. We analyze the bidding strategies in such a game and show that when domestic profits are valued, tariffs will be used to discriminate against foreign firms. Furthermore, we find that optimal tariffs can be more protectionist than the optimal price preference, resulting in lower expected domestic welfare and total surplus.
      182
  • Publication
    Distorted Trade Barriers
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2011-02)
    Since firm heterogeneity has been introduced into international trade models, the importance of firm entry and exit (the extensive margin) has been highlighted. In fact, Chaney (2008) illustrates how accounting for this extensive margin and heterogenous firms alters the standard gravity equation; thereby reversing the previously predicted effect the elasticity of substitution has on the elasticity of trade flows. Furthermore, Cole (forthcoming) points out that ad valorem tariffs affect the extensive margin quite differently than the commonly used iceberg transport cost. In this paper, I show that the elasticity of trade flows with respect to tariffs is more elastic than that of iceberg transport costs. Thus, elasticity estimates derived from variables such as distance may underestimate the effect caused by a change in tariffs.
      248
  • Publication
    Optimal tariffs, tariff jumping, and heterogeneous firms
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2009-10-22) ;
    The majority of research to date investigating strategic tariffs in the presence of multinationals finds a knife-edge result where, in equilibrium, all foreign firms are either multinationals or exporters. Utilizing a model of heterogeneous firms, we find equilibria in which both pure exporters and multinationals coexist. We utilize this model to study the case of endogenously chosen tariffs. As is standard, Nash equilibrium tariffs are higher than the socially optimal tariffs. Unlike existing models with homogeneous firms, we find that non-cooperative tariffs promote the existence of low-productivity firms relative to the socially optimal tariffs. This highlights a new source of inefficiency from tariff competition not found in models of homogeneous firms. In addition, we find that in many cases the Nash equilibrium tariff when FDI is a potential firm structure is lower than when it is not. As a result, FDI improves welfare by mitigating tariff competition.
      220
  • Publication
    Distorted trade barriers : a comment on “distorted gravity"
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-06)
    Since firm heterogeneity has been introduced into international trade models, the importance of firm entry and exit (the extensive margin) has been highlighted. Thomas Chaney (2008) illustrates how accounting for heterogenous firms (and this extensive margin) alters the standard gravity equation. In particular, it reverses the previously predicted effect the elasticity of substitution has on the elasticity of trade flows. Further, Chaney shows that the elasticity of trade flows with respect to variable trade costs is a constant. As is common, iceberg transport costs are used as the variable trade barrier. However, in many empirical studies, ad valorem tariffs are also used as a form of trade barrier, which as Cole (2010) points out, is not isomorphic to iceberg transport cost in a monopolistically competitive setting. In this comment, I solve the Chaney (2008) model using ad valorem tariffs instead of iceberg transport costs and show the elasticity of trade flows with respect to tariffs is not constant, but depends on the elasticity of substitution.
      239