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Vertical Product Differentiation and the Import Demand Function: Theory and Evidence


  • Jim Malley
  • Thomas Moutos


In this paper we use a model of vertical product differentiation to cast doubt on the general validity of the import demand function as specified in macroeconomic models. The empirical importance of our theoretical concerns is then examined with the aid of two hypotheses. According to the first hypothesis, an increase in domestic wages is expected to reduce the share in total imports for goods in which the domestic comparative advantage is in high quality varieties of these goods. The second hypothesis states that an increase in non-wage income will increase the share of a good?s imports if the country has comparative advantage in high quality varieties of this good. We find considerable empirical support for both hypotheses in the data for Germany, Japan and the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Jim Malley & Thomas Moutos, 2000. "Vertical Product Differentiation and the Import Demand Function: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 387, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_387

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Malley, Jim & Moutos, Thomas, 2006. "Do excessive wage increases raise imports?: Theory and evidence," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 194-220, March.
    2. Antonis Adam & Margarita Katsimi & Thomas Moutos, 2012. "Inequality and the import demand function," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 675-701, October.
    3. Margarita Katsimi & Thomas Moutos, 2005. "Inequality and Relative Reliance on Tariffs: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 1457, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Eugenia Fotoniata & Thomas Moutos, 2013. "Product Quality, Informality, and Child Labor," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 268-283, May.
    5. Antonis Adam & Thomas Moutos, 2002. "The Political Economy of EU Enlargement: Or, Why Japan is not a Candidate Country?," CESifo Working Paper Series 704, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Margarita Katsimi & Thomas Moutos, 2010. "Inequality and the Relative Reliance on Tariffs," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 121-137, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics


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