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Export Sophistication and Economic Performance: Evidence from Chinese Provinces

  • Joachim Jarreau
  • Sandra Poncet

We consider the effect of export sophistication on economic performance using regional variations within a single country (China) over the period 1997-2007. We confirm Hausmann, Hwang and Rodrik (2007)’s prediction that regions that engage in the cost discovery process of developing sophisticated goods grasp greater gains from globalization and grow faster. We find that these gains are limited to to export activities undertaken by domestic entities. Direct gains do not appear to derive from foreign entities typically engaged in processing trade even though they are the main contributors to the global upgrading of China’s exports. Our findings globally suggest that the expected gains from exporting higher productivity goods are not unconditional, they are greater for provinces already blessed by high incomes, better market centrality and higher trade performance and Foreign Direct Investment attractiveness. These features consistent with evidence of increasing returns to sophistication are unfortunately likely to contribute further to the current widening of spatial economic disparities across China.

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Paper provided by CEPII research center in its series Working Papers with number 2009-34.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2009-34
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  1. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  2. Hering, Laura & Poncet, Sandra, 2009. "The impact of economic geography on wages: Disentangling the channels of influence," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-14, March.
  3. R Blundell & Steven Bond, . "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "What Accounts for the Rising Sophistication of China's Exports?," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 63-104 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen Redding & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "Economic Geography and International Inequality," International Trade 0103003, EconWPA.
  6. de Sousa, José & Poncet, Sandra, 2011. "How are wages set in Beijing?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 9-19, January.
  7. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "Economic Development as Self Discovery," CEPR Discussion Papers 3356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Abhijit Banerjee & Kaivan Munshi, 2004. "How Efficiently is Capital Allocated? Evidence from the Knitted GarmentIndustry in Tirupur," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 19-42, 01.
  9. Lionel Fontagné & Guillaume Gaulier & Soledad Zignago, 2008. "Specialization across varieties and North-South competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 51-91, 01.
  10. Bond, Stephen & Bowsher, Clive & Windmeijer, Frank, 2001. "Criterion-based inference for GMM in autoregressive panel data models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 379-388, December.
  11. Aitken, B. & Hanson, G.H. & Harrison, A.E., 1994. "Spillovers, Foreign Investment and Export Behavior," Papers 95-06, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  12. Barry Naughton, 2007. "The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262640643, June.
  13. Lemoine, Francoise & Unal-Kesenci, Deniz, 2004. "Assembly Trade and Technology Transfer: The Case of China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 829-850, May.
  14. Guillaume Gaulier & Soledad Zignago, 2010. "BACI: International Trade Database at the Product-Level. The 1994-2007 Version," Working Papers 2010-23, CEPII research center.
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