IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Export behavior of Italian food firms: Does product quality matter?

  • Curzi, Daniele
  • Olper, Alessandro

Using firm-level data we investigate the export behavior of Italian food firms, focusing on the link between total factor productivity (TFP), product quality, and export across heterogeneous destinations. We test the main predictions of an international trade model based on firm heterogeneity in product quality and non-homothetic preferences in consumption. In this setting, the firm’s export intensity should be increasing in the per-capita income of foreign destinations, and the effect should be largely driven by firms’ heterogeneity in product quality. Using different measures of revenue-TFP, and different proxies for product quality, we find strong support for the main model predictions. Moreover, consistent with the Alchian–Allen effect, we find a positive relationship between the quality of exported products and the distance of destination countries.

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:
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 Food Policy.

Volume (Year): 37 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 493-503

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:5:p:493-503
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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. 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.
  2. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  3. Fajgelbaum, Pablo & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2011. "Income distribution, product quality, and international trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5843, The World Bank.
  4. 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.
  5. Kugler, Maurice & Verhoogen, Eric, 2009. "The Quality-Complementarity Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence from Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 3932, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0795, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting trade: firms, industries, and export destinations," Staff Report 332, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Davide Castellani & Giorgia Giovannetti, 2010. "Productivity and the international firm: dissecting heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 25-42.
  9. Maria Priscila Ramos & Jean-Christophe Bureau & Luca Salvatici, 2010. "Trade composition effects of the EU tariff structure: beef imports from Mercosur," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 37(1), pages 1-26, March.
  10. Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "The Segmentation of International Markets: Evidence from The Economist," NBER Working Papers 5878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Juan Carlos Hallak & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2009. "Firms' Exporting Behavior under Quality Constraints," NBER Working Papers 14928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Crozet, Matthieu & Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2009. "Quality sorting and trade: Firm-level evidence for French wine," CEPR Discussion Papers 7295, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  14. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2007. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 837-873, 05.
  15. Amiti, Mary & Konings, Jozef, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Roc Armenter & Miklos Koren, 2009. "Economies of scale and the size of exporters," Working Papers 09-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  17. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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, 09.
  19. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-61, July-Aug..
  20. Henson, Spencer & Masakure, Oliver & Cranfield, John, 2011. "Do Fresh Produce Exporters in Sub-Saharan Africa Benefit from GlobalGAP Certification?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 375-386, March.
  21. Amit Khandelwal, 2010. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1450-1476.
  22. Julie A. Caswell & Eliza M. Mojduszka, 1996. "Using Informational Labeling to Influence the Market for Quality in Food Products," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1248-1253.
  23. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  24. Steenkamp, Jan-Benedict E. M., 1990. "Conceptual model of the quality perception process," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 309-333, December.
  25. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  26. 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.
  27. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," NBER Working Papers 5067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Aiginger, Karl, 1997. "The Use of Unit Values to Discriminate between Price and Quality Competition," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(5), pages 571-92, September.
  30. A. Ninni & M. Raimondi & M. Zuppiroli, 2006. "The success of “Made in Italy”: an appraisal of quality-based competitiveness in food markets," Economics Department Working Papers 2006-EP10, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
  31. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-22, December.
  32. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," NBER Working Papers 3099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2005. "Importers, Exporters, and Multinationals: A Portrait of Firms in the U.S. that Trade Goods," Working Paper Series WP05-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  34. John Sutton, 2007. "Quality, Trade and the Moving Window: The Globalisation Process," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages F469-F498, November.
  35. Spencer Henson & Steven Jaffee, 2008. "Understanding Developing Country Strategic Responses to the Enhancement of Food Safety Standards," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 548-568, 04.
  36. Gullstrand, Joakim, 2011. "Firm and destination-specific export costs: The case of the Swedish food sector," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 204-213, April.
  37. Robert E. Lipsey, 1994. "Quality Change and other Influences on Measures of Export Prices of Manufactured Goods and the Terms of Trade between Primary Products and Manufacture," NBER Working Papers 4671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  39. Zahoor Ul Haq & Karl Meilke, 2011. "Does the Linder effect hold for differentiated agri-food and beverage product trade?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(27), pages 4095-4109.
  40. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2010. "A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 453-466, August.
  41. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2002. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," NBER Working Papers 9023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. Helpman, Elhanan, 2011. "Understanding Global Trade," Economics Books, Harvard University Press, number 9780674060784.
  43. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  44. Emmanuelle Chevassus-Lozza & Karine Latouche, 2012. "Firms, markets and trade costs: access of French exporters to European agri-food markets," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 39(2), pages 257-288, April.
  45. Amil Petrin & Brian P. Poi & James Levinsohn, 2004. "Production function estimation in Stata using inputs to control for unobservables," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 113-123, June.
  46. Bureau, Jean-Christophe & Marette, Stephan & Schiavina, Alessandra, 1998. "Non-tariff Trade Barriers and Consumers' Information: The Case of the EU-US Trade Dispute over Beef," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 437-62.
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:jfpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:5:p:493-503. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)

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.