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Trade and quality: theoretical and empirical evidence for the euro zone

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Since the contribution of Linder (1961) product quality is considered as a factor potentially boosting exports, especially for the most industrialized countries. However, being quality difficult to be measured, the macro-econometric studies on its role are not numerous and have not produced clear-cut results. In this paper we shed some light on the theoretical and empirical impact of product quality on the export performance of the EU-12 area. To avoid problems of mis-specification and endogeneity usual in the empirical literature on trade equations, we model exports as jointly endogenous with GDP, inflation and exchange rate. For this purpose we modify and enlarge a New Keynesian open economy model à la Clarida, Galì and Gertler (2001) to adapt it to a large open economy. Sign restrictions, based on theoretical impact multipliers, enable the identification of quality as one of the structural shocks of the corresponding Bayesian VAR, avoiding drawbacks connected to the choice of an incomplete, partial or biased proxy of the phenomenon. The empirical evidence shows that a quality upgrade might reinforce the EU competitiveness leading to an improvement of the current account, without any unfavourable effect on terms of trade.

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Paper provided by Cattaneo University (LIUC) in its series LIUC Papers in Economics with number 206.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:liu:liucec:206

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  1. Tommaso Monacelli & Jordi Galí, 2005. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Currency Union," Working Papers 300, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Joseph E. Gagnon, 2003. "Productive capacity, product varieties, and the elasticities approach to the trade balance," International Finance Discussion Papers 781, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Juan Francisco Rubio-Ramírez & Daniel Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2005. "Markov-switching structural vector autoregressions: theory and application," Working Paper 2005-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Jordi Gali & Tommaso Monacelli, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," NBER Working Papers 8905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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.
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