Firm Heterogeneity and Costly Trade: A New Estimation Strategy and Policy Experiments
NBER Working Paper No. 16557
This paper builds a tractable partial equilibrium model in the spirit of Melitz (2003), which incorporates two dimensions of heterogeneity: firms specific productivity shocks and firm-market specific demand shocks. The structural parameters of interest are estimated using only cross-sectional data, and counterfactual experiments regarding the effects of reducing costs, both fixed and marginal, or of trade preferences (with distortionary Rules of Origin) offered by an importing country are performed. Our counterfactuals make a case for "trade as aid" as such policies can create a "win-win-win" scenario and are less subject to the usual worries regarding the efficacy of direct foreign aid. They also suggest that reducing fixed costs at various levels can be quite effective as export promotion devices, with the exports induced per dollar spent ranging from .4 to 25.
This paper was revised on March 13, 2013