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Price, Quality, and Variety: Measuring the Gains from Trade in Differentiated Products

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  • Gloria Sheu

Abstract

This paper explores the gains from trade in differentiated products from three channels: decreases in price, improvements in quality, and increases in variety. Using data on Indian imports of computer printers from 1996 to 2005, a period of trade liberalization, I find that quality was the leading source of welfare gains. Consumers would require a 65 percent decrease in all 1996 prices to be as well off as they were with the quality available in 2005. The contribution of price was slightly smaller, while variety lagged farther behind. These effects varied across buyers, as gains were largest for small businesses.

Suggested Citation

  • Gloria Sheu, 2014. "Price, Quality, and Variety: Measuring the Gains from Trade in Differentiated Products," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 66-89, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:4:p:66-89
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.4.66
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Berlingieri, Giuseppe & Breinlich, Holger & Dhingra, Swati, 2016. "The Impact of Trade Agreements on Consumer Welfare," CEPR Discussion Papers 11148, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Redding, Stephen J. & Weinstein, David E., 2016. "A unified approach to estimating demand and welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67681, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. repec:hhs:bofitp:2013_018 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2016. "Non-price competitiveness of exports from emerging countries," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 707-735, September.
    5. Andrei Matveenko, 2017. "Logit, CES, and Rational Inattention," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp593, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    6. Lugovskyy, Volodymyr & Skiba, Alexandre, 2015. "How geography affects quality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 156-180.
    7. Benkovskis, Konstantins & Wörz, Julia, 2018. "What drives the market share changes? Price versus non-price factors," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 9-29.
    8. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2014. "How does taste and quality impact on import prices?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(4), pages 665-691, November.
    9. Jan De Loecker & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2016. "Effect of International Competition on Firm Productivity and Market Power," NBER Working Papers 21994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Tito, Maria D., 2015. "Welfare Evaluation in a Heterogeneous Agent Model: How Representative is the CES Representative Consumer?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-109, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Woerz, 2014. ""Made in China" - How Does it Affect Measures of Competitiveness?," Working Papers 2014/04, Latvijas Banka.
    12. Shin, Soye & Zhen, Chen, 2017. "Panel Price Index Construction with Chinese Scanner Data on Non-Alcoholic Beverages," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258570, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Woerz, 2012. "Evaluation of Non-price Competitiveness of Exports from Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Countries in the EU Market," Working Papers 2012/01, Latvijas Banka.
    14. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2011. "How Does Quality Impact on Import Prices?," Working Papers 175, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    15. Yilmazkuday, Hakan, 2016. "Constant versus variable markups: Implications for the law of one price," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 154-168.
    16. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Woerz, 2014. ""Made in China" - How Does it Affect Measures of Competitiveness?," Working Papers 2014/04, Latvijas Banka.
    17. Blonigen, Bruce A. & Soderbery, Anson, 2010. "Measuring the benefits of foreign product variety with an accurate variety set," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 168-180, November.
    18. Stephen J. Redding & David E. Weinstein, 2016. "Measuring Aggregate Price Indexes with Demand Shocks: Theory and Evidence for CES Preferences," NBER Working Papers 22479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2012. "Non-Price Competitiveness Gains of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Countries in the EU Market," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 27-47.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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