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Moving Skills from Hands to Heads: Import of Technology and Export Performance

  • Barba Navaretti, Giorgio
  • Galeotti, Marzio

This paper examines the link between imported technologies and a country’s export performance, as measured by product quality. The analysis is set against the background of the process of regional integration between the EU and its neighbouring developing countries. The underlying question is whether trade integration fosters or dampens learning and technological upgrading. We find that unit values of exports from these countries to the EU rose steadily between 1988 and 1996, relative to the unit values of world exports to Europe. If increases in unit values satisfactorily proxy increases in product quality, then trade integration has fostered product upgrading and technological learning in the sample countries. We find that imported technologies and other sources of knowledge have a strong bearing on this pattern. Technological inflows are captured by the degree of involvement of European companies in export flows from our sample countries (Outward Processing Trade) and by the skill content of the machines imported.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2525.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2525
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  1. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning By Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence From Colombia, Mexico, And Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947, August.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521480857 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hoekman, Bernard & Djankov, Simeon, 1997. "Determinants of the Export Structure of Countries in Central and Eastern Europe," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(3), pages 471-87, September.
  5. Rivera-Batiz, Luis A & Romer, Paul M, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-55, May.
  6. Wolfgang Keller, 1997. "Are International R&D Spillovers Trade-Related? Analyzing Spillovers Among Randomly Matched Trade Partners," NBER Working Papers 6065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nancy L Stokey, 1986. "Learning-by-Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Discussion Papers 699, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, revised May 1987.
  8. Nancy L. Stokey, 1990. "Human Capital, Product Quality, And Growth," NBER Working Papers 3413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Keller, Wolfgang, 2000. "Do Trade Patterns and Technology Flows Affect Productivity Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 17-47, January.
  10. Djankov, Simeon & Hoekman, Bernard, 1996. "Intra-Industry Trade, Foreign Direct Investment and the Reorientation of East European Exports," CEPR Discussion Papers 1377, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. David T. Coe & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "International R&D Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  13. Coe, David T & Helpman, Elhanan & Hoffmaister, Alexander W, 1997. "North-South R&D Spillovers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 134-49, January.
  14. Young, Alwyn, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 369-405, May.
  15. Aw, Bee Yan & Chung, Sukkyun & Roberts, Mark J, 2000. "Productivity and Turnover in the Export Market: Micro-level Evidence from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China)," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 65-90, January.
  16. Navaretti, Giorgio Barba & Soloaga, Isidro & Takacs, Wendy, 2000. "Vintage Technologies and Skill Constraints: Evidence from U.S. Exports of New and Used Machines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 91-109, January.
  17. Aw, Bee Yan & Roberts, Mark J., 1986. "Measuring quality change in quota-constrained import markets: The Case of U.S. Footwear," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 45-60, August.
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