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Low-Wage Countries' Competition, Reallocation Across Firms and the Quality Content of Exports

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  • Martin, Julien
  • Méjean, Isabelle

Abstract

What is the impact of low-wage countries' competition on the quality of high-wage countries' exports? To answer this question, we develop a new method that uses firm-level data to measure quality changes in sectoral exports. Over 1995-2005, we measure a 11% increase in the mean quality of France's aggregate exports, driven by a reallocation of demand in favor of higher quality producers. The phenomenon is significantly more pronounced in markets where the penetration of developing countries has increased while it is negative where firms face increased competitive pressures from high-wage countries. These results are consistent with within-product specialization along the vertical dimension. They suggest that, over the period, France has specialized in the production of higher quality goods. In our data, around one fifth of the measured quality improvement in France's aggregate exports is attributable to low-wage countries' competition. In turn, its increasing specialization in higher quality goods has limited France's market share loss over the period.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8231.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8231

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Keywords: Firm-Level Data; Low-Wage Countries' Competition; Quality Heterogeneity; Within-product specialization;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Julien MARTIN & Florian MAYNERIS, 2013. "High-End Variety Exporters Defying Distance: Micro Facts and Macroeconomic Implications," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013027, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  2. Maria Bas & Vanessa Strauss-Kahn, 2013. "Input-Trade Liberalization, Export Prices and Quality Upgrading," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2013-13, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
  3. Julien Martin & Florian Mayneris, 2013. "High-End Variety Exporters Defying Distance : Micro Facts and Macroeconomic Implications," Working Papers hal-00959404, HAL.
  4. Giorgia Giovannetti & Marco Sanfilippo, 2013. "China's Competition and the Export Price Strategies of Developed Countries," Working Papers - Economics wp2013_02.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  5. Franco Amatori & Matteo Bugamelli & Andrea Colli, 2011. "Italian Firms in History: Size, Technology and Entrepreneurship," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 13, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. Maria Bas & Vanessa Strauss-Kahn, 2013. "Input-Trade Liberalization, Export Prices and Quality Upgrading," Sciences Po publications 2013-13, Sciences Po.
  7. Gaulier, G. & Santoni, G. & Taglioni, D. & Zignago, S., 2013. "Market Shares in the Wake of the Global Crisis: the Quarterly Export Competitiveness Database," Working papers 472, Banque de France.

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