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Quality and Gravity in International Trade

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  • Flach, Lisandra
  • Unger, Florian

Abstract

This paper introduces endogenous quality innovations in a multi-country heterogeneous firm model and derives implications for the gravity equation. Using aggregate trade data and firm-level data, we confirm the theoretical predictions: fixed costs have a lower impact on exports and on the share of exporters in industries with a high degree of vertical product differentiation. Quality innovations change the trade elasticity with respect to fixed costs through the extensive margin, whereas the elasticity with respect to variable costs remains unaffected. We estimate the parameters of our model and simulate a reduction in fixed trade costs. Accounting for quality lowers gains from trade and leads to more heterogeneous effects across industries compared to a model without vertical differentiation.

Suggested Citation

  • Flach, Lisandra & Unger, Florian, 2018. "Quality and Gravity in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 12602, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12602
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    Cited by:

    1. Bastos, Paulo & Silva, Joana, 2010. "The quality of a firm's exports: Where you export to matters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 99-111, November.
    2. Flach, Lisandra & Unger, Florian, 2022. "Quality and gravity in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    3. Schmidt, Julia & Steingress, Walter, 2022. "No double standards: Quantifying the impact of standard harmonization on trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    4. Flach, Lisandra, 2017. "A note on the isomorphism of heterogeneous firms models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 24-27.
    5. Petr Polak & Nikol Polakova & Anna Tlusta, 2020. "How Bad Are Trade Wars? Evidence from Tariffs," Working Papers 2020/15, Czech National Bank.
    6. X.N. Iraki, 2018. "Is Kenya Facing East or West: An Empirical Analysis," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 11(12), pages 134-144, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gravity; Heterogeneous Firms; International Trade; product quality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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