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The Anatomy of China's Export Growth

In: China's Growing Role in World Trade

  • Mary Amiti
  • Caroline Freund

Decomposing China's real export growth, of over 500 percent since 1992,reveals a number of interesting findings. First, China's export structure changed dramatically, with growing export shares in electronics and machinery and a decline in agriculture and apparel. Second, despite the shift into these more sophisticated products, the skill content of China's manufacturing exports remained unchanged, once processing trade is excluded. Third, export growth was accompanied by increasing specialization and was mainly accounted for by high export growth of existing products (the intensive margin) rather than in new varieties (the extensive margin). Fourth, consistent with an increased world supply of existing varieties, China's export prices to the United States fell by an average of 1.5 percent per year between 1997 and 2005, while export prices of these products from the rest of the world to the United States increased by 0.4 percent annually over the same period.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Robert C. Feenstra & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "China's Growing Role in World Trade," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen07-1, December.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10451.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10451
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2006. "How Important is the New Goods Margin in International Trade?," 2006 Meeting Papers 733, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 14214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jean Imbs & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Stages of Diversification," Post-Print hal-00612598, HAL.
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    8. Judith M. Dean & K. C. Fung & Zhi Wang, 2011. "Measuring Vertical Specialization: The Case of China," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 609-625, 09.
    9. Costas Arkolakis, 2007. "Market Access Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," 2007 Meeting Papers 234, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "What's So Special about China's Exports?," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 14(5), pages 1-19.
    11. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," NBER Working Papers 10314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Peter K. Schott, 2008. "The relative sophistication of Chinese exports," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 5-49, 01.
    13. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
    14. Zhu, Susan Chun & Trefler, Daniel, 2005. "Trade and inequality in developing countries: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-48, January.
    15. Hillberry, Russell H. & McDaniel, Christine A., 2002. "A Decomposition of North American Trade Growth since NAFTA," Working Papers 15866, United States International Trade Commission, Office of Economics.
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