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Trade, Migration, and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis of China

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  • Trevor Tombe
  • Xiaodong Zhu

Abstract

We study how goods- and labor-market frictions affect aggregate labor productivity in China. Combining unique data with a general equilibrium model of internal and international trade, and migration across regions and sectors, we quantify the magnitude and consequences of trade and migration costs. The costs were high in 2000, but declined afterward. The decline accounts for 36 percent of the aggregate labor productivity growth between 2000 and 2005. Reductions in internal trade and migration costs are more important than reductions in external trade costs. Despite the decline, migration costs are still high and potential gains from further reform are large.

Suggested Citation

  • Trevor Tombe & Xiaodong Zhu, 2019. "Trade, Migration, and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis of China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(5), pages 1843-1872, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:109:y:2019:i:5:p:1843-72
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20150811
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dennis Novy, 2013. "Gravity Redux: Measuring International Trade Costs With Panel Data," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 101-121, January.
    2. Lorenzo Caliendo & Fernando Parro & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel Sarte, 2018. "The Impact of Regional and Sectoral Productivity Changes on the U.S. Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(4), pages 2042-2096.
    3. Guido Matias Cortes & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2014. "The Costs of Occupational Mobility: An Aggregate Analysis," Working Papers 2014-015, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
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    9. Lukas Albrecht & Trevor Tombe, 2016. "Internal trade, productivity and interconnected industries: A quantitative analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(1), pages 237-263, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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