“Innovation and Production in the Global Economy” by Costas Arkolakis
UC San Diego
UC Berkeley and NBER
Penn State and NBER
The decline in the costs of multinational production (MP) has led some countries to specialize in innovation and others to specialize in production. To study the aggregate and distributional implications of this phenomenon, we develop a quantifiable general equilibrium model of trade and MP. Specialization is endogenously determined as a result of comparative advantage and home market effects (HME) that arise from the interaction between increasing returns to innovation and geographical frictions. The model yields simple structural expressions for bilateral trade and MP that we use to calibrate it across a set of OECD countries. Comparative statics exercises reveal that the reduction in the cost of MP or the integration of China into the world economy may hurt countries that are driven to specialize in production due to HMEs, although these losses tend to be very small. Contrary to popular fears, we find that production workers gain even in countries that further specialize in innovation.