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Wake up and smell the ginseng: The rise of incremental innovation in low-wage countries

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  • Diego Puga
  • Daniel Trefler

Abstract

Increasingly, a small number of low-wage countries such as China and India are involved in innovation -- not 'big ideas' innovation, but the constant incremental innovations needed to stay ahead in business. We provide some evidence of this new phenomenon and develop a model in which there is a transition from old-style product-cycle trade to trade involving incremental innovation in low-wage countries. We explain why levels of involvement in innovation vary across low-wage countries and even across firms within each low-wage country. We then draw out implications for the location of production, trade, capital flows, earnings and living standards.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-193.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-193

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Keywords: international trade; low-wage country innovation;

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References

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  1. Puga, Diego & Trefler, Daniel, 2002. "Knowledge Creation and Control in Organizations," CEPR Discussion Papers 3516, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 135-159.
  3. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Quality Ladders And Product Cycles," Papers 39-89, Tel Aviv.
  4. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2005, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Elhanan Helpman & Gene M. Grossman, 2002. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," NBER Working Papers 9403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2002. "Outsourcing Versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 3647, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, December.
  8. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Antras, Pol, 2005. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," Scholarly Articles 3196324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2008. "Power inside the firm and the market: A general equilibrium approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19255, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1991. "Endogenous Product Cycles," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1214-29, September.
  12. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2003. "Globalization and the Empowerment of Talent," CEPR Discussion Papers 4129, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Helpman, Elhanan & Antras, Pol, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 4784029, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. John Sutton, 2004. "The auto-component supply chain in China and India: a benchmark study," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2292, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  18. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600, 05.
  19. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
  20. Wilfred J. Ethier & James R. Markusen, 1991. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 253-66, April.
  22. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pol Antràs & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Organizations and Trade," NBER Working Papers 14262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lee Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley, 2010. "Facts and Fallacies about U.S. FDI in China," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 513-539 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Diego Puga & Daniel Trefler, 2009. "Wake up and smell the ginseng: International trade and the rise of incremental innovation in low-wage countries," Working Papers 2009-01, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  4. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600, 05.
  5. Dobson, Wendy & Masson, Paul R., 2009. "Will the renminbi become a world currency?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 124-135, March.
  6. Dalia Marin & Thierry Verdier, 2009. "Power in the multinational corporation in industry equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 437-464, March.
  7. Lee Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley, 2007. "Facts and Fallacies about U.S. FDI in China," NBER Working Papers 13470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Amelia Santos-Paulino & Guanghua Wan, 2011. "Southern growth engines and technology giants: introduction," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 1-5, April.

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