This paper develops and estimates a model of indivisibilities in shipping and economies of scale in consolidation. It uses highly detailed data on imports where it is possible to observe the contents of individual containers. In the model, ﬁrms are able to adapt to indivisibility constraints by using consolidation strategies and by making adjustments to shipment size. The ﬁrm determines the optimal number of domestic ports to use, taking into account that adding more ports lowers inland freight cost, at the expense of a higher indivisibility cost. The estimated model is able to roughly account for Walmart’s port choice behavior. The model estimates are used to evaluate how mergers or dissolutions of ﬁrms or countries, and changes in variety, affect indivisibility costs and inland freight costs.
This paper develops a methodology for predicting the impact of trade liberalization on exports by industry (3-digit ISIC) based on the pre-liberalization distribution of exports by product (5-digit SITC). Using the results of Kehoe and Ruhl (2013) that much of the growth in trade after trade liberalization is in products that are traded very little or not at all, we predict that industries with a higher share of exports generated by least traded products will experience more growth. Using our methodology, we develop predictions for industry-level changes in trade for the United States and Korea following the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). As a test for our methodology, we show that it performs significantly better than the applied general equilibrium models originally used for the policy evaluation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Following its opening to trade and foreign investment in the mid-1980s, Mexico’s economic growth has been modest at best, particularly in comparison with that of China. Comparing these countries and reviewing the literature, we conclude that the relation between openness and growth is not a simple one. Using standard trade theory, we find that Mexico has gained from trade, and by some measures, more so than China. We sketch out a theory in which developing countries can grow faster than the United States by reforming. As a country becomes richer, this sort of catch-up becomes more difficult. Absent continuing reforms, Chinese growth is likely to slow down sharply, perhaps leaving China at a level less than Mexico’s real GDP per working-age person.
We study the quarterly bilateral real exchange rate and the relative price of non-traded to traded goods for 1225 country pairs over 1980–2005. We show that the two variables are positively correlated, but that movements in the relative price measure are smaller than those in the real exchange rate. The relation between the two variables is stronger when there is an intense trade relationship between two countries and when the variance of the real exchange rate between them is small. The relation does not change for rich/poor country bilateral pairs or for high inflation/low inflation country pairs. We identify an anomaly: The relation between the real exchange rate and relative price of non-traded goods for US/EU bilateral trade partners is unusually weak.
This paper develops a theory of pricing-to-market driven by marketing and bargaining frictions. Our key innovation is a capital theoretic model of marketing in which relations with customers are valuable. In our model, producers search and form long-lasting relations with their customers, and marketing helps overcome the search frictions involved in forming such matches. In the context of international business cycle patterns, the model accounts for observations that are puzzles for a large class of theories: (i) pricing-to-market, (ii) positive correlation of aggregate real export and import prices, (iii) excess volatility of the real exchange rate over the terms of trade, and (iv) low short-run and high long-run price elasticity of international trade flows. The behavior of quantities is shown to be on par with standard international business cycle theories that, in contrast to our model, assume low intrinsic elasticity of substitution between domestic and foreign goods.
International relative prices across industrialized countries show large and systematic deviations from relative purchasing power parity. We embed a model of imperfect competition and variable markups in a quantitative model of international trade. We find that when our model is parameterized to match salient features of the data on international trade and market structure in the US, it can reproduce deviations from relative purchasing power parity similar to those observed in the data because firms choose to price-to-market. We then examine how pricing-to-market depends on the presence of international trade costs and various features of market structure.
Applied general equilibrium (AGE) models, which feature multiple countries, multiple industries, and input-output linkages across industries, have been the dominant tool for evaluating the impact of trade reforms since the 1980s. We review how these models are used to perform policy analysis and document their shortcomings in predicting the industry-level effects of past trade reforms. We argue that, to improve their performance, AGE models need to incorporate product-level data on bilateral trade relations by industry and better model how trade reforms lower bilateral trade costs. We use the least traded products methodology of Kehoe et al. (2015) to provide guidance on how improvements can be made. We provide further suggestions on how AGE models can incorporate recent advances in quantitative trade theory to improve their predictive ability and better quantify the gains from trade liberalization.
We use micro data for Ireland to estimate how export participation and the export revenue of incumbent exporters respond to tariffs and real exchange rates. Both participation and revenue, but especially revenue, are more responsive to tariffs than to real exchange rates. Our estimates translate into an elasticity of aggregate exports with respect to tariffs of between -3.8 and -5.4, and with respect to real exchange rates of between 0.45 and 0.6, consistent with estimates in the literature based on aggregate data. We argue that forward-looking investment in customer base combined with the fact that tariffs are much more predictable than real exchange rates can explain why export revenue responds so much more to tariffs.
We examine entry across 113 national markets in 16 different industries using a comprehensive data set of French manufacturing firms. The data are unique in indicating how much each firm exports to each destination. Looking across all manufacturers: (1) Firms differ substantially in export participation, with most selling only at home; (2) The number of firms selling to multiple markets falls off with the number of destinations with an elasticity of –2.5; (3) Decomposing French exports to each destination into the size of the market and French share, variation in market share translates nearly completely into firm entry while about 60 percent of the variation in market size is reflected in firm entry. Looking within each of 16 industries we find little variation in these patterns. We propose that any successful model of trade and market structure must confront these facts.