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Quality heterogeneity and misallocation: The welfare benefits of raising your standards

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  • Macedoni, Luca
  • Weinberger, Ariel

Abstract

Using data from Chile, we find that more restrictive standards are associated with a reallocation of domestic sales from small to large firms, which has allocative efficiency implications. Guided by this evidence, we study the welfare effects of the reallocation brought about by stricter standards in a model with monopolistically competitive, heterogeneous firms, and a general demand system. Restrictive standards have an ambiguous effect on welfare. On the one hand, they improve allocative efficiency because low-quality firms over-produce in the market allocation. This market distortion is driven entirely by the presence of variable markups and exists to varying degrees in both homothetic and non-homothetic frameworks. On the other hand, the imposition of stricter standards forces firms to pay a fixed cost that is welfare reducing. We estimate our model for Chile and find significant heterogeneity in the welfare gains from moving to the optimal standards policy across industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Macedoni, Luca & Weinberger, Ariel, 2022. "Quality heterogeneity and misallocation: The welfare benefits of raising your standards," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:134:y:2022:i:c:s0022199621001240
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2021.103544
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    1. Anne‐Célia Disdier & Carl Gaigné & Cristina Herghelegiu, 2023. "Do standards improve the quality of traded products?," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 56(4), pages 1238-1290, November.
    2. Diane Coyle & John McHale & Ioannis Bournakis & Jen-Chung Mei, 2023. "Recent Trends in Firm-Level Total Factor Productivity in the United Kingdom: New Measures, New Puzzles," Working Papers 036, The Productivity Institute.
    3. Cali,Massimiliano & Ghose,Devaki & Montfaucon,Angella Faith Lapukeni & Ruta,Michele, 2022. "Trade Policy and Exporters’ Resilience : Evidence from Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10068, The World Bank.
    4. Weinberger, Ariel, 2020. "Markups and misallocation with evidence from exchange rate shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    5. Schmidt, Julia & Steingress, Walter, 2022. "No double standards: Quantifying the impact of standard harmonization on trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    6. Ariel Weinberger & Luca Macedoni, 2023. "International Spillovers of Quality Regulations," Working Papers 2023-10, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    7. Luca Macedoni, 2022. "Monopsonistic competition, trade, and the profit share," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 124(2), pages 488-515, April.
    8. Djolaud, Guy, 2022. "Import Penetration of Low Quality Products : Markups Implications," MPRA Paper 114611, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Fernandes,Ana Margarida & Lefebvre,Kevin Jean-Rene & Rocha,Nadia, 2021. "Heterogeneous Impacts of SPS and TBT Regulations : Firm-Level Evidence from Deep Trade Agreements," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9700, The World Bank.
    10. Mertens, Matthias & Mottironi, Bernardo, 2023. "Do larger firms exert more market power? Markups and markdowns along the size distribution," IWH Discussion Papers 1/2023, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), revised 2023.
    11. Luca Macedoni, 2022. "Asymmetric information, quality, and regulations," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 1180-1198, September.
    12. Mertens, Matthias & Mottironi, Bernardo, 2023. "Do larger firms exert more market power? Markups and markdowns along the size distribution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 121283, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Luca Macedoni & Ariel Weinberger, 2021. "Quality Misallocation, Trade, and Regulations," CESifo Working Paper Series 9041, CESifo.
    14. Beguin, Malo, 2021. "Harmonization, Mutual Recognition or National Treatment: a Melitz approach," LIDAM Discussion Papers LFIN 2021010, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain Finance (LFIN).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Allocative efficiency; Product standards; Variable markups; Quality heterogeneity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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