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AuteursAntoine Bouët[*][*] ifpri. ...
suite du même auteur
This special issue of Revue Economique focuses on International Trade. It is now a tradition for a generalist economic journal to dedicate a special issue to this field of economic analysis. The reason could be its specificity : international trade and more specifically international economics have to study economic relations, possible strategic interactions and/or externalities not only between economic agents inside a country, but also between countries. For example, trade liberalisation is a major concern not only for countries involved in wto negotiations (rich countries vs. developing countries ; agricultural exporters vs. net food importers) but also within each country for economic agents with different endowments (labour vs. capital) or engaged in different transactions (producers vs. consumers). The object of study is thus specific, and raises specific issues.
2 International trade is also the subject of numerous debates. Globalisation is a highly controversial subject of public debate. Maybe more than in other areas of economic analysis, specialists have to take part in this public debate to explain the economic stakes behind each political decision.
3 Three topics are addressed in this special issue. They deserve a special interest as these are controversial issues in the public debate in most rich countries : delocalisation of economic activity which is often presented as partly responsible for mass unemployment, international migration having supposedly tremendous economic and social repercussions, and international institutions which are frequently criticised, either because they concentrate too much power and are undemocratic, or as they marginalise the importance of key issues such as environment, public health…
4 The choice of these three topics also reflects natural paradigms in international trade theory.
5 In a classical textbook like Caves & Jones  international economics is presented as a singular research area which deserves specific methodologies and models. Two reasons for that : firstly in the long term, productive factors (capital, labour) are perfectly mobile inside the domestic economy, while their mobility from one country to the other is severely restricted. The international mobility of capital (through the location of productive activities) and of labour (as a result of international migration) have increased during the three last decades and have increasingly been taken into account by internationalists.
6 Secondly for Caves & Jones , international trade raises specific economic policy issues. International trade takes place between sovereign governments. International institutions (either regional or multilateral) have been created in order to strengthen co-operation between nations but their legitimacy is being increasingly questioned.
7 This special issue is based on these concerns. Three topics are examined.
8 A first one is location of economic activity. Economic geography is nowadays a full area of investigation for economic research and has numerous intersections with international trade. Until 1990, the issue of space had never been formally introduced in the internationalists’ toolbox. Countries were featured by production factors’ endowments, technologies or market size, but space was not accounted for. A new paradigm emerged in the nineties, due to the pioneering work of Paul Krugman and Anthony Venables (Krugman  ; Krugman & Venables [1990 and 1995]) and others (e.g. Fujita et al. ). A key object of study becomes the location of productive activities, the tension between agglomeration and dispersion forces, and the dynamics attached to this process. This new field of literature has brought fundamental conclusions on imbalances characterising spatial location of productive activities, on the rapidity with which such process of agglomeration and dispersion can emerge and on the policies to be adopted in order to attract economic activities.
9 Location is determined by market access, costs, but also other variable such as the need to source inputs in other affiliates of the multinational firms. This is what Fabrice Defever and Jean-Louis Muchielli try to look at, in the framework of the enlarged European Union. They econometrically analyse the choice of location of the value chain by multinational firms in the enlarged European Union and new accessing countries. An appealing contribution of this article is to rely on a set of individual firms data for almost 11,000 location choices during the period 1997-2002, identifying both the sector and the type of activity for each investment. The importance of intra-group co-location strategies is clearly assessed.
10 Bernard Franck and Robert Owen address the issue of offshoring of r&d activities. Certainly, the stock of knowledge in alternative locations abroad is a key determinant of location choice. Their theoretical analysis, conducted on the basis of a duopoly assumption, points out to situations where both firms may relocate their r&d abroad as a result of competition, whereas it would have been collectively better not to do so.
11 Pamina Koenig proposes a stimulating empirical analysis based on individual firm data : she is interested in the location of exporters in the manufacturing sector, which might be influenced by the proximity of other exporters in order to benefit from agglomeration economies. This paper fits the new approach stressing the heterogeneity of firms (e.g. Mélitz ). For instance, firms may acquire information on the destination markets thanks to its location in the neighbourhood of other exporters, and thus reduce fixed entry costs. Detailed data on the location of French firms as well as on the destinations of their exports allow identification of the presence of export spillovers across firms exporting to different countries. However, as stressed by the recent literature on firms’ heterogeneity, a selection effect of the most productive firms may lessen the impact of spillovers when exporting to the most difficult (e.g. the most remote) markets.
12 Céline Carrère and Maurice Schiff confirm the prominent role of transaction costs that the commonly shared view of a global economy may have hidden. This paper is thus in line with the recent Anderson & Van Wincoop  contribution, highlighting enormous trade costs. In their paper, echoing Hummels’  “Geography of Trade Costs”, Carrère and Schiff try to explain the stylised fact identified in the meta-analysis of Disdier & Head , that the negative impact of distance on trade has not been shrinking, but slightly increasing over the last century. The solution of the puzzle lies in the decomposition of trade costs in distance-related ones and the remaining costs (“dwell costs” including port storage, time of loading and unloading ships, of queuing outside the port waiting to be serviced, etc.).
13 The second topic of this special issue is migration. According to un data, and notwithstanding the limits inherent to such a difficult accounting, the world stock of international migrants would have increased from 82 millions in 1970, to 100 millions in 1980, 154 millions in 1990 and 175 millions in 2000 (United Nations  pop/db/mig). North America has been the first pole of attraction of migrants, while the share of Asia and Latin America declined. Such stylised facts have certainly led internationalists to revisit this topic.
14 For instance, the relation between trade liberalisation and international migration flow is more complementary than Mundell’s theory of substitution would suggest (Mundell ). Labour economists’ models usually explain international migration by comparing migrants’ wages in the host country with remuneration in the origin country (e.g. Harris & Todaro ). But international migration, and its impacts on both the host and home countries, have become more complex, calling for an in-depth empirical investigation of this phenomenon. In particular, the increasing high skilled migrations raise difficult issues. In this issue, two empirical papers using original database (Jean-Christophe Dumont and Georges Lemaître, and Frédéric Docquier, Olivier Lohest and Abdeslam Marfouk) shed light on these new characteristics of international migration.
15 The articles presented in this issue, deal with three aspects related to international migration flows and their effects, which were not sufficiently analysed in the literature :
- the impact of remittances on the home country with respect to its microeconomic dimension ;
- the measure of skilled migration flows and the analysis of their impact on the home and host countries ;
- the question of selective migration policies and their impact on industrialized host countries coping with ageing populations.
The microeconomic dimension of international migration flows (and the transfers involved within) has to be accounted for. Thus, the impact of remittances on the home country was not sufficiently analyzed with respect to its microeconomic dimension. In fact, the impact of migration on the country of origin appears ambiguous due to a moral hazard effect stemming from an asymmetric relation between the migrant and its family or clan This effect is studied in Jean-Paul Azam and Flore Gubert’s paper, using Malian labor migration microeconomic data.
16 By contrast, the skilled migration effect on countries of origin is not so negative than previously expected. As it is shown in Jean-Christophe Dumont and Georges Lemaître’s survey on brain drain, return migration can, under certain circumstances (such as imperfect information on the level of skills, associated technology transfer…), be sufficient to induce a positive effect of highly skilled expatriation on the home country human capital stock. The brain effect (incentive to invest in education in the home country) can be stronger than the drain effect.
17 The impact of migration, especially skilled migration, on host countries is frequently considered as positive. But European Union countries also have to deal with a brain effect in favour of the United States and Canada as it is shown in Frederic Docquier, Oliver Lohest and Abdeslam Marfouk’s article. The differences in the “pull” factors between the two host zones have greater impact than the “push factors” (related to the country of origin) – this is why the eu countries attract less qualified migrants than usa or Canada.
18 Finally, the recent debate about replacement migrations as a solution to declining and ageing population, is, for instance in France, is linked to the question of setting up selective migrations policies based on qualifications. Using a computable general equilibrium model, Xavier Chojnicki, Fréderic Docquier and Lionel Ragot demonstrate in their article that a quota policy based on qualification selection doesn’t change, on the long run, the effect on the host country which is always positive in terms of well-being.
19 A third theme of this special issue is international institutions. Since the end of the Second World War, this topic has been intensively investigated either at the multilateral level or the regional one. Beggar-thy-neighbour policies are usual in international economic relations ; as a result setting up mechanisms to enforce co-operation is a key issue. Multilateralism (Staiger ), regionalism (Viner  ; Balassa ) and unilateralism (Cline  ; Bhagwati & Patrick ) have been scrutinised and justified (see Bagwell & Staiger  and Bhagwati  in the case of multilateralism ; Baldwin  for regionalism ; Johnson  and Axelrod  in the case of unilateralism.) Multilateralism is obviously the most efficient trade regime but it implies larger adjustment costs due to international trade between heterogeneous zones. Regionalism is an easier path towards openness. By adopting unilateralism a government is keeping its sovereignty in a politically sensible area. No organization mode is superior ; it certainly explains why these three trade regimes coexist today. Therefore analyzing the economic impact of new liberalization is more difficult.
20 Recent developments focus on trade negotiations conducted under the aegis of wto (Hertel & Winters  ; Anderson & Martin ) and the efficiency of regional economic policies (see for example the special issue co-edited by Economie internationale and Integration and Trade, (, p. 94-95) on trade liberalisation agreements in Latin America and Caribbean economies). These concerns are reflected in this special issue.
21 Christian Bjornskov and Kim Martin Lind analyse the positions of 120 wto members in the ongoing trade negotiations and the extent to which the “Harbinson proposal” reflects a genuine compromise. The study is conducted through clustering and principal component analysis. This empirical paper sheds light on the functioning of wto and the antagonism between its members. Conflicts of interest on various subjects are numerous : tariff formulae, definition of export subsidies, extent by which domestic support has to be reduced… The Harbinson proposal appears a realistic arrangement.
22 Çaglar Özden is studying competition policies and externalities imposed by mergers of foreign firms on other countries. These externalities coming from one country to the other have certainly been amplified by international integration. A theoretical model identifies the economic variables which influence welfare implications of a foreign merger on trading partners. An econometric investigation is conducted in the case of American firms to study the investigation decision by the European authorities. The market presences of merging firms and of other American firms in the sector have a significant effect. Furthermore they are complementary.
23 Finally the editors wish to express their thanks to 23 anonymous referees, who have undoubtedly contributed to the quality of this special issue by their diligence and insightful comments, and to Anne Perrin (catt, University of Pau), for administrative assistance. Last but not the least, they would like to take this opportunity to thank Helene Commaille, whose constant kindness and competences have been so much appreciated by the entire profession for years.
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Axelrod, R.M. , The evolution of cooperation. New York : Basic Books.
Bagwell, K. and Staiger, R.W. , “An economic theory of gatt”. The American Economic Review, 89-1 : 215-248.
Balassa, B. , The theory of economic integration, London : G. Allen and Unwin Ltd.
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Bhagwati, J. , In defense of globalization. Oxford University Press.
Bhagwati, J., and Patrick, H.G. (eds), , Aggressive unilateralism – America’s trade policy and the world trading system, Harvester Wheatsheaf.
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Cline, W.R. , Reciprocity : a new approach to world trade policy ? Institute for International Economics, 2-Sept., 1-41.
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Disdier, A.C. and Head, K. , “The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade”, Mimeo, Université Paris i.
Fujita, M., Krugman, P., Venables, A.J. , The Spatial Economy : Cities, Regions and International Trade. Cambridge : mit Press.
Harris, J.R., Todaro, M. , “Migration, unemployment and development : a two-sector analysis”. American Economic Review, 60 (3) : 126-142.
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Krugman, P. and Venables, A.J. , “Globalization and the Inequality of Nations”. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110 : 859-880.
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[ *] ifpri.
[ **] cepii and University Paris i.
[ ***] cepn-cnrs, University Paris xiii.
POUR CITER CET ARTICLE
Antoine Bouët et al. « Introduction », Revue économique 6/2005 (Vol. 56), p. 1179-1184.
URL : www.cairn.info/revue-economique-2005-6-page-1179.htm.
DOI : 10.3917/reco.566.1179.