[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multinational enterprises are able to improve their disagreement profits by setting up foreign production facilities, with adverse consequences for negotiated wages and union utilities. In this paper, we take a new angle at this issue and analyze whether unions can improve their situation by cooperating internationally. By shifting the focus from firms to unions as the active players, we aim at explaining why unions find it hard to respond to the detrimental shift in bargaining position as a result of globalization and why there is so little evidence for union cooperation within multinational production networks. Our results show that cooperation is clearly beneficial for unions if their preferences regarding wages and employment are similar across countries. If these preferences differ, however, potential production relocations by multinationals create winners and losers among unions, and these distributional effects may impede cooperation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We develop a new model of multi-product firms which invest to improve both the quality of their individual products and of their brand. Because of flexible manufacturing, products closer to firms' core competence have lower costs, so they produce more of them, and also have higher incentives to invest in their quality. These two effects have opposite implications for the profile of prices. Mexican data provide robust confirmation of the model's key prediction: firms in differentiated-good sectors exhibit quality-based competence (prices fall with distance from core competence), but export sales of firms in non-differentiated-good sectors exhibit the opposite.
Journal of International Economics 01/2011; 95(2). DOI:10.1016/j.jinteco.2014.12.012 · 1.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper uses a unique data set on Mexican firms to test a number of hypotheses implied by recent work on multi-product firms in open economies. The findings are consistent with the "flexible manufacturing" view that firms have a "core competence" product, and sell fewer products in their export than their home markets, though with possibly higher sales of core products abroad when the foreign market is larger. The additional costs of serving a larger foreign market thus lead firms to adopt a "leaner and meaner" profile of export sales across the varieties they produce relative to their home sales.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We set up a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms to study the interaction between wage bargaining and foreign direct investment. Thereby, we highlight the incentives of firms to invest abroad in order to improve their bargaining position vis--vis local unions and we show how changes in the bargaining power of unions affect the share of multinational firms in an open economy. In addition, taking into account this relationship between wage bargaining and foreign direct investment, our analysis provides novel insights on how labor income and the unemployment rate adjust to economic integration and how changes in the bargaining power of unions affect these two labor market variables.
Journal of International Economics 04/2009; 77(2):206-214. DOI:10.1016/j.jinteco.2009.01.004 · 1.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The New Trade Theory predicts that international trade lowers prices for consumers and expands the choices available to them. This study shows that both predictions may no longer hold once adjustments in the retail sector are taken into account. I present a new model of retailing in general equilibrium and explore its implications for a number of different shocks. The results demonstrate that retail assortments may remain constant if consumers have a low preference for diversity, and that consumer prices can even rise if the retail density is sufficiently low. --
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The popular Dixit-Stiglitz-Ethier framework proposes that globalization increases the menu of intermediate goods available to downstream firms and that gains from specialization raise welfare unambiguously. This study shows that both results depend critically on the assumption that demand elasticities are invariable. The more general framework presented here provides two main insights: First, whether specialization rises or falls depends ultimately on the shape of the cost function, and second, globalization can actually reduce welfare in the case when specialization falls.
Journal of International Economics 05/2008; 75(1):219-228. DOI:10.1016/j.jinteco.2007.08.007 · 1.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper models tax competition for mobile firms that are differentiated by the amount of labor needed to cover fixed costs. Because tax competition affects the distribution of firms, it affects both relative equilibrium wages across countries and equilibrium prices. These in turn influence the equilibrium number of firms. From the social planner's perspective, optimal tax rates are harmonized, providing the optimal number of firms, and set such that income is efficiently distributed between private and public consumption. As is common in tax competition models, in the Nash equilibrium tax rates are inefficiently low, yielding underprovision of public goods. Furthermore, there exist a variety of situations in which equilibrium tax rates differ. As a result, too many firms enter the market as governments compete to be the low-tax, high-wage country. This illustrates a new distortion from tax competition and provides an additional benefit from tax harmonization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper models tax competition for mobile firms that are differentiated by their productivities. Because taxes affect the distribution of firms, they affect wages, prices, and the number of firms. From the social planner's perspective, optimal taxes efficiently distribute income between private and public consumption and are harmonized, providing the optimal number of firms. This is not a Nash equilibrium. As is common in such models, equilibrium taxes are inefficiently low. Furthermore, there is no pure strategy equilibrium with equal taxes resulting in too many firms. This illustrates a new distortion from tax competition and a new benefit from harmonization. (JEL H21, H25, H87)
American Economic Journal Economic Policy 04/2007; 2(1):77-102. DOI:10.2139/ssrn.980901
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper we examine the impact of membership in Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) on trade between PTA members. Rather than considering the impact of PTA membership on the volume of trade we consider the impact of membership on the structure of trade. For a large sample of countries over the period 1962-2000 we find that membership in a PTA is associated with an increase in the extent of intra-industry trade. In addition, we find that the effect of PTA membership on IIT is larger when a PTA is formed between two developed countries.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present paper analyses policy competition for foreign direct investment between countries of different size and different market structure. We demonstrate how policy competition affects the location decision of the foreign investor and derive welfare implications. The key variables in our analysis are intra-regional trade costs, differences in market size, and minimum wages.
European Economic Review 10/2006; 50(7-50):1891-1907. DOI:10.1016/j.euroecorev.2005.07.002 · 1.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a new model of multi-product firms (MPFs) and flexible manufacturing, and explore its implications in partial and
general oligopolistic equilibrium. Globalization affects the scale and scope (or intensive margin and intra-firm extensive margin) of MPFs through a competition effect and a demand effect. The model highlights a new source of gains from
trade: productivity increases as firms become “leaner and meaner”, concentrating on their core competence; but also a new
source of losses from trade: product variety may fall. Our results also hold under free entry, which allows in addition for
adjustment along the traditional inter-firm extensive margin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper studies the relationship between wage negotiations and the mode of foreign market penetration in a general equilibrium framework. We analyze the incentives of firms to set up a foreign production facility for improving their bargaining position vis-à-vis local unions. This renders the allocation of bargaining power among firms and unions a key determinant of the share of multinational enterprises and exporting firms. The economic mechanisms in this paper provide novel insights on how wages and unemployment rates adjust to economic integration. We distinguish between short-run effects for a given number of competitors and long-run effects after firm entry/exit. This allows us to identify possible globalization paths and to analyze their consequences for domestic labor markets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In contrast to the predictions of standard models of international trade, globalization critics are claiming that trade destroys diversity. We demonstrate that with endogenous sunk costs, trade integration in horizontally differentiated industries can indeed lead to a fall in diversity. Consumers are faced with a tradeoff between gains in real income and a loss in diversity, so that the impact on welfare is ambiguous. However, it is possible through fiscal policies to replicate pre-trade choices and still realize gains in real income. Thus, calls for a 'cultural protectionism' are not justified. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2006.
German Economic Review 02/2006; 7(11):403-418. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-0475.2006.00126.x · 0.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study analyzes the impact of international trade on the diffusion of flexible manufacturing in a general equilibrium framework. Suppliers produce a flexible base product that can be adapted to the specific input requirements of a continuum of downstream industries. The vertical structure is determined by the trade-off between economies of scope in flexible manufacturing and product specificity of in-house production. In this framework, globalization can lead to alternating waves of insourcing and outsourcing, but once the world market reaches a threshold size, outsourcing prevails. We also derive a number of testable predictions with regard to firm size and productivity measures that are in line with recent empirical and casual evidence.
Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue Canadienne d`Economique 07/2005; 42(4). DOI:10.1111/j.1540-5982.2009.01552.x · 0.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper derives the impact of market integration on equilibrium firm size and market concentration in horizontally differentiated industries. We show that market concentration (measured by the number of firms) can rise as a consequence of market integration if firms engage in R&D competition. We also demonstrate that whether concentration occurs or not depends on the R&D production function and on consumer preferences. This result implies that the welfare effects of market integration are not unambiguously positive.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We develop a spatial model of industrial structure to study the im-pact of international trade on product versatility and on outsourcing in a setting of exible manufacturing. Downstream …rms can either pur-chase versatile intermediate goods from independent suppliers which can be adapted to the speci…c needs of their technology, or they can chose to produce speci…c inputs in-house. The vertical structure is determined by the trade-o¤ between economies of scale and product speci…city. Inter-national trade increases specialization and market thickness, but the two have counteracting e¤ects on the level of outsourcing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is two-fold. First, we analyze the role of wage rigidities in labor market adjustments to international trade and biased technological progress in a small open economy. We introduce efficiency wages into a neoclassical trade model and show that changes in relative wages are independent of wage rigidities. Second, we examine the impact of capital market integration on relative wages and unemployment and find that wage inequality will rise (fall) and unemployment will fall (rise) when capital is being imported (exported).
The North American Journal of Economics and Finance 08/2003; 14(2-14):173-188. DOI:10.1016/S1062-9408(02)00117-1 · 0.76 Impact Factor