IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Factor Intensity, product switching, and productivity: Evidence from Chinese exporters

Listed author(s):
  • Ma, Yue
  • Tang, Heiwai
  • Zhang, Yifan

This paper analyzes how a firm's specialization in its core products after exporting affects its factor intensity and productivity. Using Chinese manufacturing firm data for the 1998–2007 period, we find that firms become less capital-intensive but more productive after exporting, compared to non-exporters that share similar ex ante characteristics. To rationalize these findings that contrast with existing studies, we develop a variant of the model by Bernard, Redding, and Schott (2010, 2011) to consider firms producing multiple products with varying capital intensity. The model predicts that when a firm in a labor-abundant country starts exporting, it specializes in its core competencies by allocating more resources to produce more labor-intensive products. Firm ex ante productivity is associated with a smaller decline in capital intensity after exporting. A sharper post-export decline in capital intensity is associated with a larger increase in measured total factor productivity. We find firm-level evidence supporting these predictions. Using transaction-level data for the 2000–2006 period, we show that Chinese new exporters add products that are less capital-intensive than their existing products and drop those that are more capital-intensive in subsequent years.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022199613001116
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 349-362

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:92:y:2014:i:2:p:349-362
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2013.11.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Bee Yan Aw & Mark J. Roberts & Daniel Yi Xu, 2011. "R&D Investment, Exporting, and Productivity Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1312-1344, June.
  2. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  3. Wagner, Joachim, 2001. "The causal effects of exports on firm size and labor productivity: First evidence from a matching approach," HWWA Discussion Papers 155, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  5. Thierry Mayer & Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2010. "Market size, competition and the product mix of exporters," Working Paper Research 202, National Bank of Belgium.
  6. Andrew.B Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in international trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3682, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2009. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," NBER Working Papers 15342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 1997. "Exports and success in German manufacturing," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 133(1), pages 134-157, March.
  9. Werner Antweiler & Daniel Trefler, 2002. "Increasing Returns and All That: A View from Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 93-119, March.
  10. Nocke, Volker & Yeaple, Stephen R, 2008. "Globalization and the Size Distribution of Multiproduct Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 6948, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
  12. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "Learning-by-Exporting" Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," NBER Working Papers 5715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Swati Dhingra, 2013. "Trading Away Wide Brands for Cheap Brands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2554-2584, October.
  14. Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata, 2012. "Getting Ready: Preparation for Exporting," CEPR Discussion Papers 8926, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 729-761.
  16. Costas Arkolakis & Sharat Ganapati & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2016. "The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2028, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  17. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2012. "Multi-Product Firms and Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 18637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bernard, A.B. & Jensen, J.B., 1994. "Exporters, Skill Upgrading, and the Wage Gap," Working papers 94-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  19. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Multiple-product firms and product switching," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27861, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  20. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-level Productivity…For Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099.
  21. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2009. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 14632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Survival of the Best Fit: Exposure to Low-Wage Countries and the (Uneven) Growth of US Manufacturing Plants," Working Paper Series WP03-3, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  23. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade Liberalization, Exports and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean Firms," 2009 Meeting Papers 1029, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  24. Peter Neary & Carsten Eckel, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Economics Series Working Papers 292, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  25. Bernard, Andrew B. & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2004. "Comparative Advantage and Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J Klenow, 2008. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," 2008 Meeting Papers 121, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  27. repec:spr:weltar:v:144:y:2008:i:4:p:596-635 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Delgado, Miguel A. & Farinas, Jose C. & Ruano, Sonia, 2002. "Firm productivity and export markets: a non-parametric approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 397-422, August.
  29. John Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2003. "Export-market participation and productivity performance in Canadian manufacturing," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(3), pages 634-657, August.
  30. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Lapham, Beverly, 2013. "Productivity and the decision to import and export: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 297-316.
  31. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Multi-product firms and trade liberalization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  32. Bastos, Paulo & Silva, Joana, 2010. "The quality of a firm's exports: Where you export to matters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 99-111, November.
  33. Brandt, Loren & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Yifan, 2012. "Creative accounting or creative destruction? Firm-level productivity growth in Chinese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 339-351.
  34. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
  35. Heiwai Tang & Yifan Zhang, 2012. "Quality Differentiation and Trade Intermediation," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0771, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  36. JaeBin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," NBER Working Papers 15706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Edwin Leuven & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing," Statistical Software Components S432001, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 19 Jan 2015.
  38. Roberto Alvarez & Ricardo López, 2005. "Exporting and performance: evidence from Chilean plants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1384-1400, November.
  39. A. Isgut, 2001. "What's Different about Exporters? Evidence from Colombian Manufacturing," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(5), pages 57-82.
  40. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  41. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," NBER Working Papers 8349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
  43. Aw, Bee Yan & Chung, Sukkyun & Roberts, Mark J, 2000. "Productivity and Turnover in the Export Market: Micro-level Evidence from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China)," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 65-90, January.
  44. Gary Jefferson & Thomas Rawski & Yifan Zhang, 2008. "Productivity growth and convergence across China's industrial economy," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 121-140.
  45. Girma, Sourafel & Greenaway, David & Kneller, Richard, 2003. "Export market exit and performance dynamics: a causality analysis of matched firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 181-187, August.
  46. Runjuan Liu, 2010. "Import competition and firm refocusing," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(2), pages 440-466, May.
  47. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  48. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  49. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  50. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:92:y:2014:i:2:p:349-362. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.