Non -traded goods, product differentiation and integration of factor markets

Noel Kingsley Gray, Florida International University


This research sought to determine the implications of a non-traded differentiated commodity produced with increasing returns to scale, for the welfare of countries that allowed free international migration. We developed two- and three-country Ricardian models in which labor was the only factor of production. The countries traded freely in homogeneous goods produced with constant returns to scale. Each also had a non-traded differentiated good sector where production took place using increasing returns to scale technology. Then we allowed for free international migration between two of the countries and observed what happened to welfare in both countries as indicated by their per capita utilities in the new equilibrium relative to their pre-migration utilities. Preferences of consumers were represented by a two-tier utility function [Dixit and Stiglitz 1977]. As migration took place it impacted utility in two ways. The expanding country enjoyed the positive effect of increased product diversity in the non-traded good sector. However, it also suffered adverse terms-of-trade as its production cost declined. The converse was true for the contracting country. To determine the net impact on welfare we derived indirect per capita utility functions of the countries algebraically and graphically. Then we juxtaposed the graphs of the utility functions to obtain possible general equilibria. These we used to observe the welfare outcomes. We found that the most likely outcomes were either that both countries gained, or one country lost while the other gained. We were, however, able to generate cases where both countries lost as a result of allowing free inter-country migration. This was most likely to happen when the shares of income spent on each country's export good differed significantly. In the three country world when we allowed two of the countries to engage in preferential trading arrangements while imposing a prohibitive tariff on imports from the third country welfare of the partner countries declined. When inter-union migration was permitted welfare declined even further. This we showed was due to the presence of the non-traded good sector.

Subject Area

Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Gray, Noel Kingsley, "Non -traded goods, product differentiation and integration of factor markets" (2000). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9966109.