Discussion paper

DP11721 The Gains from Input Trade with Heterogeneous Importers

Trade in intermediate inputs allows firms to reduce their costs of production and thus benefits consumers through lower prices of domestically produced goods. The extent to which firms participate in foreign input markets, however, varies substantially. We develop a methodology to measure how consumer prices are affected by input trade in environments that allow for such heterogeneity in import behavior. We provide a theoretical result that holds in a variety of settings: the firm-level data on value added and domestic expenditure shares in material spending are sufficient to compute changes in consumer prices. Approaches that abstract from firm level heterogeneity and rely on aggregate statistics give biased results. In an application to French data, we find that prices of manufacturing products would be 27% higher in the absence of input trade.


Lelarge, C, J Blaum and M Peters (2016), ‘DP11721 The Gains from Input Trade with Heterogeneous Importers‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11721. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11721