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Competition and Quality Upgrading

  • Amiti, Mary
  • Khandelwal, Amit

How does competition affect innovation? We address this question by using a novel approach to measure quality - an important component of innovation - using highly disaggregated product data for a large set of countries. Constructing an internationally comparable measure of quality enables us to separate the effect of reducing import tariffs, our measure of competition, on quality upgrading from other country level differences in competitive environments, and product demand shocks. We base our analysis on recent theoretical frameworks that predict that the effect of competition on innovation depends on firms’ proximity to the world technological frontier. As predicted by theory, we find that lower tariffs are associated with quality upgrading for products close to the world frontier; whereas lower tariffs discourage quality upgrading for varieties distant from the frontier.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7562.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7562
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Blundell, Richard & Griffith, Rachel & Howitt, Peter & Prantl, Susanne, 2006. "The effects of entry on incumbent innovation and productivity," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Competition and Innovation SP II 2006-18, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Amit Kumar Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2010. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1727-1767.
  3. Kugler, Maurice & Verhoogen, Eric, 2009. "The Quality-Complementarity Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence from Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 3932, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Halpern, László & Koren, Miklós & Szeidl, Adam, 2005. "Imports and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2012. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 379-436.
  6. Amit Khandelwal, 2010. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1450-1476.
  7. Cardell, N. Scott, 1997. "Variance Components Structures for the Extreme-Value and Logistic Distributions with Application to Models of Heterogeneity," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 185-213, April.
  8. Philippe Aghion & Nick Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: an Inverted-U Relationship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 701-728.
  9. Baldwin, Richard & Harrigan, James, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Robert Koopman & Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2008. "How Much of Chinese Exports is Really Made In China? Assessing Domestic Value-Added When Processing Trade is Pervasive," NBER Working Papers 14109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & John van Reenen, 1999. "Market Share, Market Value and Innovation in a Panel of British Manufacturing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 529-554.
  14. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  15. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
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