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

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  • 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. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2005. "Products and productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3692, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. 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.
  4. Hallak, Juan Carlos & Sivadasan, Jagadeesh, 2008. "Productivity, quality and exporting behavior under minimum quality constraints," MPRA Paper 24146, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John & Scarpetta1, Stefano, 2004. "Microeconomic evidence of creative destruction in industrial and developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3464, The World Bank.
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  7. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2002. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," NBER Working Papers 9023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Coibion, Olivier & Einav, Liran & Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2007. "Equilibrium demand elasticities across quality segments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 13-30, February.
  15. Lionel Fontagné & Guillaume Gaulier & Soledad Zignago, 2007. "Specialisation across Varieties within Products and North-South Competition," Working Papers 2007-06, CEPII research center.
  16. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530, 05.
  17. Yo Chul Choi & David Hummels & Chong Xiang, 2006. "Explaining Import Variety and Quality: The Role of the Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 12531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  19. Dinopoulos, Elias & Segerstrom, Paul, 2006. "North-South Trade and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5887, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  21. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  22. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Esteban Jaimovich & Vincenzo Merella, 2010. "Quality Ladders in a Ricardian Model of Trade with Nonhomothetic Preferences," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_033, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Nguyen, Daniel X., 2012. "Demand uncertainty: Exporting delays and exporting failures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-344.
  3. Esteban Jaimovich & Vincenzo Merella, 2011. "Love for Quality, Comparative Advantage, and Trade," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 216, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2012.

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