A Theory of International Trade Under Uncertainty by Elhanan Helpman

By Elhanan Helpman

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Moreover, for a given distribution of commodity prices, a change in the output of an industry is achieved by means of a change in the number of firms in the industry; the optimal output level for a single firm is not affected by changes in factor endowments (so long as there is incomplete specialization). Mayer also shows that the Stolper-Samuelson theorem is valid when changes in commodity prices are replaced by changes in the expected value of commodity prices, keeping all higher moments of the price distribution constant.

A firm produces a state-dependent output with no input, so that the firm faces no decision 36 3. DECISION MAKING UNDER UNCERTAINTY problem. The firms are owned by individuals, and individuals trade in ownership shares before the resolution of uncertainty. After the resolution of uncertainty there is no incentive to trade in goods, because there is only one good. We concentrate on a single individual and shall omit, therefore, the superscript. Since there is only one commodity, we also omit the subscript i.

It is easy to see that in the case in which production decisions are consistent with consumption preferences, the first-best policy consists of no government intervention. Moreover, even if one accepts their model, it is hard to see how their suggested policy measures will bring about the optimal allocation. Clearly, if the mean of the foreign price distribution is equal to the autarky price ratio, then price stabilization at the mean will prevent foreign trade, and this is a feasible policy. However, if the mean foreign price is not equal to the autarky price ratio, then there is no guarantee that the expected deficit in the government budget will equal zero (Hanoch, 1974).

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