Three essays in international trade in the agricultural sector

Authors: Zongo, Wendkouni Jean-Baptiste
Advisor: Larue, Bruno
Abstract: In standard trade models with constant average cost, the firm’s sales in any given market is related to other markets only through price indices which are treated as exogenous in the firm’s optimization. With cost convexity, the firm’s decision in any given market is directly tied to sales in other markets through an index aggregating the trade cost-adjusted market size of the destinations supplied by the firm. The difference made by increasing costs is that the firm is cognizant that by changing its sales in a given destination it changes its unit cost for all destinations. This in turn triggers extensive and intensive margins adjustments. In the first essay, we develop a theoretical framework to address the incidence of increasing marginal costs and capacity constraints on trade at the extensive and the intensive margins and on export duration. Under convex costs, an increase in productivity may not increase the number of destinations supplied by a firm, making "ins and outs", not just new entries. We generated empirical evidence in support of the aforementioned trade adjustments by assessing the incidence of lagged foregone exports on exports to "fallback markets" and on export survival. Exports to the fallback markets systematically increase in response to foregone sales from terminated trade flows. Similarly, the sum of foregone sales from terminated trade flows make existing trade flows more resilient, less prone to an export failure. A distinguishing feature of our survival models is that they test and correct for the endogeneity of tariffs. Previous studies reported peculiar results about the incidence of tariff on export survival. We too find wrong signs when tariff is treated as an exogenous variable, but we find that higher tariffs increase the likelihood of export failures when tariff endogeneity is addressed. The second essay investigates the dynamic impacts of animal disease outbreak on cattle and beef trade accounting for vertical linkage between cattle and beef. The empirical framework features a multi-sample selection model (MSSM) to investigate how animal-specific diseases affect aggregate trade flows at the extensive and intensive margins of trade in livestock and meat products over time, accounting for constraints imposed by the technological linkages between livestock and meat productions. The spontaneous emergence of foot and mouth disease adversely impacts the extensive and intensive margins of trade in cattle and beef for seven years. Our results show that the extensive margin effects of the disease outbreak are larger than its corresponding intensive margin effects. Regarding cross-species effects, the avian flu and swine fever reduce the probability and the level of trade in cattle and beef. The third essay studies a counterfactual experiment about the elimination of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the foot and mouth diseases (FMD) on beef trade flows. Disease outbreak alerts typically prompt importing countries to impose trade bans. The bans vary a lot across importing countries in terms of product coverage and duration. We rely on a unique balanced panel dataset that covers 4-digit disaggregated beef product over the 1996-2013 period. Previous gravity studies reported only partial trade flow effects. However, a large shock like the complete elimination of BSE and FMD diseases must affect the inward and outward multilateral resistance indices (i.e., the importing countries’ barriers on beef imports from all sources and the trade barriers faced by exporting countries in all destinations), factory-gate prices, consumer expenditures and the value of beef production in exporting countries. Our results confirm that the indirect channels through which BSE and FMD impact trade are important when it comes to measuring welfare gains. Interestingly, our counterfactual experiment suggests that Canada would be one of the countries gaining the most from BSE and FMD eradication.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 12 September 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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