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Managing trade: evidence from China and the US

Author

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  • Nicholas Bloom
  • Kalina Manova
  • Stephen Teng Sun
  • John Van Reenen
  • Zhihong Yu

Abstract

We present a heterogeneous-firm model in which management ability increases both production efficiency and product quality. Combining six micro-datasets on management practices, production and trade in Chinese and American firms, we find broad support for the model's predictions. First, better managed firms are more likely to export, sell more products to more destination countries, and earn higher export revenues and profits. Second, better managed exporters have higher prices, higher quality, and lower quality-adjusted prices. Finally, they also use a wider range of inputs, higher quality and more expensive inputs, and imported inputs from more advanced countries. The structural estimates indicate that management is important for improving production efficiency and product quality in both countries, but it matters more in China than in the US, especially for product quality. Panel analysis for the US and a randomized control trial in India suggest that management exerts causal effects on product quality, production efficiency, and exports. Poor management practices may thus hinder trade and growth, especially in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Bloom & Kalina Manova & Stephen Teng Sun & John Van Reenen & Zhihong Yu, 2018. "Managing trade: evidence from China and the US," CEP Discussion Papers dp1553, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1553
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    Cited by:

    1. Mingzhi Xu, 2020. "Globalization, the skill premium, and income distribution: the role of selection into entrepreneurship," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 156(3), pages 633-668, August.
    2. Bloom, Nicholas & Iacovone, Leonardo & Pereira-Lopez, Mariana & Van Reenen, John, 2022. "Management and misallocation in Mexico," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 117752, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Luca David Opromolla & Giordano Mion & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2020. "Dream Jobs," GEE Papers 0153, Gabinete de Estratégia e Estudos, Ministério da Economia, revised Jul 2020.
    4. David Atkin & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2020. "How Distortions Alter the Impacts of International Trade in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 12(1), pages 213-238, August.
    5. Paulo Bastos & Joana Silva & Eric Verhoogen, 2018. "Export Destinations and Input Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 353-392, February.
    6. Ding, Haoyuan & Fan, Haichao & Jin, Yuying & Qi, Tong, 2022. "Talented overseas returnees and outward foreign direct investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    7. Xuan Leng & Pengcheng Li & Yuming Zheng, 2023. "Does the expansion of local government debt affect the export quality?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 44(4), pages 2495-2515, June.
    8. Jin, Zhangfeng, 2021. "The Legacies of the Soviet Influence in the 1950s: China's 156 Major Industrial Projects," GLO Discussion Paper Series 932, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Chen, Cheng & Steinwender, Claudia, 2021. "Import competition, heterogeneous preferences of managers, and productivity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    10. Chiappini, Raphaël & Jégourel, Yves, 2021. "“The buck stops with the executives”: Assessing the impact of workforce composition and cultural distance on French firms’ exports," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 45-57.
    11. Li, Guangzhong & Egger, Peter H. & Li, Jie & Wu, Han, 2022. "Exporting firms’ factor and product-quality adjustments in response to employment protection legislation: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    12. Chen, Cheng, 2019. "Trade liberalization, agency problem and aggregate productivity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 421-442.
    13. Zhang, Yi & Liu, Chun & Wang, Ting, 2020. "Direct or indirect? The impact of political connections on export mode of Chinese private enterprises," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    14. Sunghoon Chung, 2023. "Management Practices in Korean Manufacturers: A Striking Level Difference between Production and Incentive Management," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 39, pages 103-135.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    management; exports; product quality; productivity; globalisation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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