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Title: Essays in Ricardian trade theory
Author: Sbracia, Massimo
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 2860
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2016
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We build a general Ricardian model of international trade, which extends Eaton and Kortum (2002), in order to analyze the sources of the gains from trade, the effects of trade openness on productivity, and the role of nominal exchange rates. For general distributions of industry efficiencies, welfare gains can always be de- composed into a selection and a reallocation effect. The former is the change in average efficiency due to the selection of industries that survive international competition. The latter is the rise in the weight of exporting industries in domestic production, due the reallocation of workers away from non-exporting industries. This decomposition, which is hard to calculate in the general case, simpli es dramatically with Fréchet- distributed efficiencies, providing easy-to-quantify model-based measures of these two effects. For an average of 46 countries in 2000 and 2005, the selection effect turns out to be somewhat more important than the reallocation effect. By analyzing the relationship between trade openness and total factor productivity (TFP), we propose a novel methodology to measure the latter. The logic of our approach is to use a structural model and measure TFP not from its "primitive" (the aggregate production function), but from its observed implications. We estimate TFP levels of the manufacturing sector of 19 OECD countries, relative to the United States, in 1985-2002, as the average productivity a proxy for aggregate TFP that best ts data on trade, production and wages. Our measures turn out to be easy to compute and are no longer mere residuals. To examine the role exchange rates in a model of real consumption and production decisions with no money, we follow an insight of Keynes (1931) and replicate a currency depreciation with an increase in import barriers and a symmetric decline in export barriers. By mimicking changes in exchange rates with changes in the model parameters, we can demonstrate a series of classical results and conjectures, in a very general framework with many countries, tradeable goods and non-tradeable goods. We show not only that a depreciation has no real effects with flexible wages, but, with sticky wages, we are able to prove that an undervalued currency causes involuntary unemployment abroad, while at home it determines inefficiently high employment in the export sector, raising real GDP but lowering welfare. If the currency is overvalued, we also show that there exists an appropriate depreciation that restores competitive prices, with welfare-enhancing effects, proving Friedman's conjecture (1953).
Supervisor: Caporale, G. ; Pericoli, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Comparative Advantage ; Gains from trade ; Trade revealed TFP ; Exchange rates ; Competitiveness