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Quality Uncertainty and Intermediation in International Trade

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  • Kunal Dasgupta
  • Jordi Mondria

Abstract

Uncertainty about product quality is endemic in international trade. We develop a dynamic, two country model where home producers differ in terms of the quality of the products they sell. This quality is imperfectly observed by foreign consumers initially but known once the product is consumed. We show that this uncertainty generates an information cost of exporting, over and above the usual fixed costs used in standard heterogeneous firm models. We use the model to examine the role played by intermediaries in alleviating quality uncertainty. An intermediation technology involving higher marginal cost but lower fixed cost arises endogenously in our model. We analyze the sorting of exporters into different exporting modes. In the process, we uncover a novel externality of using intermediaries. We go on to study how the equilibrium depends on the degree of product heterogeneity, the level of information and the measure of available intermediaries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-462.

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Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-462

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Keywords: Intermediaries; quality; uncertainty; screening; asymmetric information;

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References

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  1. Bernardo S. Blum & Sebastian Claro & Ignatius Horstmann, 2010. "Facts and Figures on Intermediated Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 419-23, May.
  2. 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.
  3. Thomas Gehrig, 1993. "Intermediation in Search Markets," Discussion Papers 1058, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2008. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0848, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Pol Antràs & Arnaud Costinot, 2011. "Intermediated Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1319-1374.
  6. Daniel Paravisini & Veronica Rappoport & Philipp Schnabl & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2011. "Dissecting the Effect of Credit Supply on Trade: Evidence from Matched Credit-Export Data," NBER Working Papers 16975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Macchiavello, Rocco, 2010. "Development Uncorked: Reputation Acquisition in the New Market for Chilean Wines in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 7698, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Costas Arkolakis & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2010. "The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3309, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Andrew B. Bernard & Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi, 2011. "Intermediaries in International Trade: Direct versus indirect modes of export," NBER Working Papers 17711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 14214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Andrew B. Bernard & Emily J. Blanchard & Ilke Van Beveren & Hylke Y. Vandenbussche, 2012. "Carry-Along Trade," NBER Working Papers 18246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Thomas Chaney, 2011. "The Network Structure of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 16753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Pablo Fajgelbaum & Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 721 - 765.
  14. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  15. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Jung, Benjamin, 2008. "Trade intermediaries, incomplete contracts, and the choice of export modes," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 317, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  16. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Emily Blanchard & Tatyana Chesnokova & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Private Labels and International Trade: Trading Variety for Volume," School of Economics Working Papers 2013-01, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  2. Pol Antràs & Arnaud Costinot, 2010. "Intermediated Trade," NBER Working Papers 15750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Julia Cagé & Dorothée Rouzet, 2014. "Improving "National Brands": Reputation for Quality and Export Promotion Strategies," PSE Working Papers halshs-00797006, HAL.
  4. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00797006 is not listed on IDEAS

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