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Measuring quality in international trade

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  • Liao, Chi-Hung

Abstract

Product quality plays a vital role in international trade flows, but the measurement of quality remains to be a challenge because true quality is usually unobserved in trade data. In this study, we propose a straightforward measurement of quality--the weighted-income index--and compare it with the unit-value proxy in a microeconomic model with quality choice. Then we compare the two measurements in the automobile industry. The empirical result shows that the weighted-income quality index performs better than the unit-value quality proxy in ranking true quality.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Systems.

Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 125-138

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecosys:v:35:y:2011:i:1:p:125-138

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Keywords: International trade Product quality Unit value Weighted-income quality index;

References

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  1. Anderson, Simon P & de Palma, Andre, 2001. "Product Diversity in Asymmetric Oligopoly: Is the Quality of Consumer Goods Too Low?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 113-35, June.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1991. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 557-86, May.
  3. Jørgen Nielsen & Teit Lüthje, 2002. "Tests of the empirical classification of horizontal and vertical intra-industry trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 138(4), pages 587-604, December.
  4. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-22, December.
  5. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  6. C. Simon Fan, 2005. "Increasing Returns, Product Quality and International Trade," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(285), pages 151-169, 02.
  7. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  8. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kyoji Fukao & Hikari Ishido & Keiko Ito, 2003. "Vertical Intra-Industry Trade and Foreign Direct Investment in East Asia," Discussion papers 03001, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  10. Copeland, Brian R. & Kotwal, Ashok, 1996. "Product quality and the theory of comparative advantage," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1745-1760, December.
  11. Das, Satya P. & Donnenfeld, Shabtai, 1989. "Oligopolistic competition and international trade : Quantity and quality restrictions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3-4), pages 299-318, November.
  12. Feenstra, Robert C, 1988. "Quality Change under Trade Restraints in Japanese Autos," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 131-46, February.
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