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World Trade Patterns and Prices: The Role of Productivity and Quality Heterogeneity

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Author Info

  • Benedetti Fasil, Cristiana

    ()
    (European University Institute)

  • Borota, Teodora

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of product quality and labor efficiency in shaping the trade patterns and trade intensities within and across two groups of countries, the developed and richer North and the developing South. Taking prices as a proxy for quality, recent empirical literature identifies a positive relation between income per capita and both export and import prices, suggesting that rich countries trade goods of relatively higher quality. Instead of relying on specific demand side mechanisms such as non-homothetic preferences, we focus on the North-South differences in technology. We employ a four country North-South trade model with two dimensions of firm heterogeneity. Differences in firms’ product qualities and cost efficiencies result in a price distribution generating different consumption bundles and the observed export and import prices across rich and poor countries. Furthermore, the resulting total expenditure allocation across quality shows that the North (South) spends a larger share of its income on high (low) quality even with the same homothetic preferences across regions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010:7.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 15 Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2010_007

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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Related research

Keywords: International trade patterns; North-South trade; import and export prices; heterogeneous firms; product quality;

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References

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  1. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-product Versus Within-product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 646-677, May.
  2. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Olivier Coibion & Liran Einav & Juan Carlos Hallak, 2006. "Equilibrium Demand Elasticities across Quality Segments," Working Papers 550, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
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  8. Baldwin, Richard & Harrigan, James, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2010. "A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 453-466, August.
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  15. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nguyen, Daniel X., 2012. "Demand uncertainty: Exporting delays and exporting failures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-344.
  2. Esteban Jaimovich & Vincenzo Merella, 2012. "Quality Ladders In A Ricardian Model Of Trade With Nonhomothetic Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 908-937, 08.
  3. Vincenzo Merella & Esteban Jaimovich, 2013. "Love for Quality, Comparative Advantage, and Trade," 2013 Meeting Papers 244, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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