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Low-Wage Countries’ Competition, Reallocation Across Firms and the Quality Content of Exports

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  • Julien Martin
  • Isabelle Méjean

Abstract

We consider the impact of low-wage countries’ competition on the quality content of high-wage countries’ exports. We develop a new method that uses firm-level data to measure quality changes in sectoral exports. Over 1995-2005, we measure a 11% increase in the mean quality of France’s aggregate exports. Quality upgrading is driven by a reallocation of demand in favor of higher quality producers. The phenomenon is significantly more pronounced in markets where the penetration of developing countries has increased while it goes the opposite direction where firms face increased competitive pressures from high-wage countries. These results are consistent with within-product specialization along the vertical dimension. They suggest that, over the period, France has specialized in the production of higher quality goods. In our data, around one fifth of the measured quality improvement in France’s aggregate exports is attributable to low-wage countries’ competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Martin & Isabelle Méjean, 2012. "Low-Wage Countries’ Competition, Reallocation Across Firms and the Quality Content of Exports," Working Papers 2012-04, CEPII research center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2012-04
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Julien MARTIN & Florian MAYNERIS, 2013. "High-End Variety Exporters Defying Distance: Micro Facts and Macroeconomic Implications," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013027, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Auer, Raphael A. & Degen, Kathrin & Fischer, Andreas M., 2013. "Low-wage import competition, inflationary pressure, and industry dynamics in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 141-166.
    3. Julien Martin & Florian Mayneris, 2013. "High-End Variety Exporters Defying Distance : Micro Facts and Macroeconomic Implications," Working Papers hal-00959404, HAL.
    4. Franco Amatori & Matteo Bugamelli & Andrea Colli, 2011. "Italian Firms in History: Size, Technology and Entrepreneurship," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 13, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Gaulier, G. & Santoni, G. & Taglioni, D. & Zignago, S., 2013. "Market Shares in the Wake of the Global Crisis: the Quarterly Export Competitiveness Database," Working papers 472, Banque de France.
    6. Matteo Bugamelli & Silvia Fabiani & Enrico Sette, 2015. "The Age of the Dragon: The Effect of Imports from China on Firm‐Level Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(6), pages 1091-1118, September.
    7. Giorgia Giovannetti & Marco Sanfilippo, 2016. "China’s competition and the export price strategies of developed countries," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 238-254, March.
    8. Bas, Maria & Strauss-Kahn, Vanessa, 2015. "Input-trade liberalization, export prices and quality upgrading," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 250-262.
    9. Martin, Julien & Mayneris, Florian, 2015. "High-end variety exporters defying gravity: Micro facts and aggregate implications," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 55-71.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm-Level Data; Quality Heterogeneity; Low-Wage Countries’ Competition; Within-product specialization;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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