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Composition of Capital and Gains from Trade in Equipment

Mutreja, Piyusha (2016): Composition of Capital and Gains from Trade in Equipment.

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Composition of capital varies systematically with incomes: rich countries have higher equipment capital shares than poor countries. Also, equipment production is highly concentrated and most countries import equipment. I investigate the quantitative importance of equipment trade for capital composition and how it affects incomes through capital composition. In a multi-country trade model, I show that equipment trade accounts for one-quarter of the cross-country variation in equipment capital share. The decline in equipment trade barriers during 1985-2005 resulted in income gains for all countries. Digging into these income gains reveals that capital composition is an important transmission mechanism: changes in capital composition alone account for 45 percent of the gains, on average.

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