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Trade and growth in an unequal global economy


Kohler, Andreas (2012). Trade and growth in an unequal global economy. Working paper series / Department of Economics 81, University of Zurich.

Abstract

This paper studies the patterns of trade and the incentives to innovate in an unequal global economy. We introduce non-homothetic preferences in a general-equilibrium model of endogenous growth and international trade between two countries, and argue that the effects of market integration on the consequent trade patterns and the incentives to innovate depend on the degree of income inequality across countries. We find that if inequality across countries is low, the extensive margin of trade between countries is high whereas the world growth rate is low. The introduction of non-homothetic preferences rises a number of interesting questions that are not an issue in the standard model. For example, we discuss the design of intellectual property rights, in particular national vs. international exhaustion of patents, and argue that households in poor and rich countries might not see eye to eye depending on how poor households weigh future losses in consumption against present gains. Furthermore, we address the welfare consequences of a trade liberalization, and show that households in the poor country might loose relative to households in the rich country if trade costs fall from a high to a sufficiently low level.

This paper studies the patterns of trade and the incentives to innovate in an unequal global economy. We introduce non-homothetic preferences in a general-equilibrium model of endogenous growth and international trade between two countries, and argue that the effects of market integration on the consequent trade patterns and the incentives to innovate depend on the degree of income inequality across countries. We find that if inequality across countries is low, the extensive margin of trade between countries is high whereas the world growth rate is low. The introduction of non-homothetic preferences rises a number of interesting questions that are not an issue in the standard model. For example, we discuss the design of intellectual property rights, in particular national vs. international exhaustion of patents, and argue that households in poor and rich countries might not see eye to eye depending on how poor households weigh future losses in consumption against present gains. Furthermore, we address the welfare consequences of a trade liberalization, and show that households in the poor country might loose relative to households in the rich country if trade costs fall from a high to a sufficiently low level.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D30, O30, F10
Uncontrolled Keywords:Growth, inequality, international trade
Language:English
Date:June 2012
Deposited On:06 Jun 2012 15:20
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:51
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:50
ISSN:1664-7041
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp081.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-62991

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