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Trade liberalization and heterogeneous firm models: an evaluation using the Canada - US Free Trade Agreement

Breinlich, Holger and Cuñat, Alejandro (2010) Trade liberalization and heterogeneous firm models: an evaluation using the Canada - US Free Trade Agreement. CEP Discussion Paper, No. 975. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

We examine the qualitative and quantitative predictions of a heterogeneous firm model à la Melitz (2003) in the context of the Canada - US Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) of 1989. We calibrate our model to the pre-trade liberalization stage, simulate the trade liberalization, and compute the resulting growth rates of Canadian industry productivity, exports and imports. We compare them with Trefler’s (2004) estimates of the effects of CUSFTA. Our results show that our model performs well in replicating the qualitative aspects of Trefler’s results. In particular, we correctly predict that US tariff cuts have smaller productivity enhancing effects than Canadian tariff reductions due to the entry of less efficient exporters. Quantitatively, the model tends to underpredict the impact of CUSFTA on growth rates of productivity, but overpredicts the increase in Canadian exports and imports. We discuss how liberalization-induced changes in the firm-level productivity distribution can reconcile the model with the evidence.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2010 The authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: F - International Economics > F1 - Trade > F15 - Economic Integration
F - International Economics > F1 - Trade > F13 - Commercial Policy; Protection; Promotion; Trade Negotiations; International Trade Organizations
F - International Economics > F1 - Trade > F12 - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: No. 975
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2010 13:58
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28725/

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