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Quality and Gravity in International Trade

Author

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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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    3. Flach, Lisandra & Unger, Florian, 2022. "Quality and gravity in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    4. 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.
    5. Jeffrey H. Bergstrand & Stephen R. Cray & Antoine Gervais, 2023. "Increasing Marginal Costs, Firm Heterogeneity,and the Gains from "Deep" International Trade Agreements," Cahiers de recherche 23-01, Departement d'économique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    6. Xianpu Xu & Yuchen Song, 2023. "Is There a Conflict between Automation and Environment? Implications of Artificial Intelligence for Carbon Emissions in China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(16), pages 1-22, August.
    7. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H. & Cray, Stephen R. & Gervais, Antoine, 2023. "Increasing marginal costs, firm heterogeneity, and the gains from “deep” international trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    8. Egger, Peter H. & Li, Jie & Wu, Han, 2023. "Firms’ entry choices across export products and markets, and the consequences of trade in an open economy: Evidence from China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 209(C), pages 243-262.
    9. Schmidt, Julia & Steingress, Walter, 2022. "No double standards: Quantifying the impact of standard harmonization on trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    10. Bo Gao & Bin Qiu, 2023. "Income distribution and unequal gains from trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 236-255, January.
    11. Flach, Lisandra, 2017. "A note on the isomorphism of heterogeneous firms models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 24-27.
    12. Andreas Baur & Lisandra Flach & Isabella Gourevich & Florian Unger, 2023. "North-South Trade: The Impact of Robotization," CESifo Working Paper Series 10865, CESifo.
    13. He, Dongwei & Wang, Yunfei & You, Kai, 2023. "Market entry and the dynamics of export product quality: Evidence from Chinese manufacturing firms," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 692-706.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International trade; Heterogeneous firms; Gravity; 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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