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Product quality and firm heterogeneity in international trade

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  • Antoine Gervais

Abstract

This paper quantifies the separate contributions of product quality and technical efficiency in explaining variation in export outcomes across US manufacturing plants. Unlike previous studies that rely on unit values, I estimate idiosyncratic demand from price and quantity information. I find substantial across-plant heterogeneity in demand, and consistent with the quality interpretation, demand is positively correlated with advertising expenditures, wage rates and material costs. I use this variation to explain across-plant heterogeneity in export outcomes. The results show that, in addition to productivity, idiosyncratic demand is an important determinant of selection into exporting and the levels of foreign sales.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine Gervais, 2015. "Product quality and firm heterogeneity in international trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(3), pages 1152-1174, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:48:y:2015:i:3:p:1152-1174
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Product Differentiation, Multiproduct Firms, and Estimating the Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1407-1451, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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