Empirical Research on Trade Liberalization With Imperfect Competition: A Survey
This paper attempts a synthetic census of the calibration/counterfactual style of empirical research on the benefits of trade liberalization with imperfect competition and scale economies. Computable-general-equilibrium studies are surveyed, as are a large number of partial-equilibrium studies in the same style. Microeconomic foundations common to almost all of the studies are discussed algebraically, and the corresponding general-equilibrium structure is discussed graphically. The first typical conclusion from the studies surveyed is that calculated gains in national purchasing power are usually two to three times the size of those estimated in traditional frameworks with perfect competition. Only occasionally are welfare losses calculated from trade liberalization, although such losses are quite possible in theory, as a large recent literature has shown. The second typical conclusion is that calculated adjustment pressures from trade liberalization are considerably higher than implied in most commentary, and higher also than estimates from traditional models. Adjustment pressures describe stimuli for workers to shift activities, for firms to grow or die, for industries to expand or contract, and for trading-partner shares to be altered.
Published: Empirical Research on Trade Liberalisation with Imperfect Competition: A Survey." From OECD Economic Studies, No. 1/2, pp. 7-50, (Spring 1989).