IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Income distribution and vertical comparative advantage Theory and evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Hélène LATZER

    ()

    (BETA, Université de Strasbourg and Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales)

  • Florian MAYNERIS

    ()

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

In this paper, we provide a general model discussing the impact of non-homothetic preferences on the vertical comparative advantage of countries, i.e. the existence of demand-based determinants of the quality content of production and exports. We show that while average income positively impacts the quality mix of a country’s exports, the impact of inequality depends on the shape of the curve describing the evolution of the income share devoted to high-quality varieties. Along levels of income where this curve is increasing and convex, inequality increases aggregate demand for high quality varieties, more and more rapidly along income. Our empirical results on the quality content of bilateral export flows within the enlarged EU confirm our theoretical predictions. We show that a country’s income distribution has a significant impact on the quality of its exports. Moreover, the impact of inequality on the quality of exports is all the more positive that the exporter is rich. Our estimations are robust to instrumentation and inclusion of controls for supply-side determinants. In a quantification exercise, we show that the positive effect of inequality can be substantial and is magnified when coupled with an increase in average income. This suggests that a growing middle class is decisive for internal demand to drive quality upgrading of production and exports of a country.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://sites.uclouvain.be/econ/DP/IRES/2012018.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2012018.

as
in new window

Length: 44
Date of creation: 29 Aug 2012
Date of revision: 20 Oct 2012
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2012018
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Place Montesquieu 3, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)

Fax: +32 10473945
Web page: https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/immaq/ires
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Martin, Julien, 2012. "Markups, quality, and transport costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 777-791.
  2. Matilde Bombardini & Giovanni Gallipoli & German Pupato, 2012. "Skill Dispersion and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2327-2348, August.
  3. Angela Cheptea & Lionel Fontagné & Soledad Zignago, 2014. "European export performance," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(1), pages 25-58, February.
  4. Davis, Donald R. & Weinstein, David E., 2003. "Market access, economic geography and comparative advantage: an empirical test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23, January.
  5. Bekkers, Eddy & Francois, Joseph & Manchin, Miriam, 2012. "Import prices, income, and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 848-869.
  6. Pol Antras & Davin Chor & Thibault Fally & Russell Hillberry, 2012. "Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 412-416, May.
  7. Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 857-880.
  8. Pablo Fajgelbaum & Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 721-765.
  9. Lionel Fontagné & Guillaume Gaulier & Soledad Zignago, 2008. "Specialization across varieties and North-South competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 51-91, 01.
  10. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
  11. Gordon H. Hanson & Chong Xiang, 2004. "The Home-Market Effect and Bilateral Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1108-1129, September.
  12. Gabor Pula & Daniel Santabárbara, 2012. "Is china climbing up the quality ladder?," Working Papers 1209, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  13. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2011. "Gravity, market potential and economic development," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 281-294, March.
  14. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
  15. Maurice Kugler & Eric Verhoogen, 2012. "Prices, Plant Size, and Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 307-339.
  16. Murata, Yasusada, 2008. "Engel's law, Petty's law, and agglomeration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 161-177, August.
  17. Muhammed Dalgin & Vitor Trindade & Devashish Mitra, 2008. "Inequality, Nonhomothetic Preferences, and Trade: A Gravity Approach," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 747-774, January.
  18. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  19. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
  20. Amiti, Mary & Khandelwal, Amit, 2009. "Competition and Quality Upgrading," CEPR Discussion Papers 7562, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Gaulier, Guillaume & Zignago, Soledad, 2004. "Notes on BACI (analytical database of international trade). 1989-2002 version," MPRA Paper 32401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 747-786, 08.
  23. Klaus Desmet & Stephen L. Parente, 2010. "Bigger Is Better: Market Size, Demand Elasticity, And Innovation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 319-333, 05.
  24. 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.
  25. Amit Khandelwal, 2010. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1450-1476.
  26. Choi, Yo Chul & Hummels, David & Xiang, Chong, 2009. "Explaining import quality: The role of the income distribution," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 293-303, July.
  27. Reto Foellmi & Christian Hepenstrick & Josef Zweimüller, 2010. "Non-homothetic preferences, parallel imports and the extensive margin of international trade," IEW - Working Papers 497, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  28. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
  29. Zhou, Dongsheng & Spencer, Barbara J. & Vertinsky, Ilan, 2002. "Strategic trade policy with endogenous choice of quality and asymmetric costs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 205-232, January.
  30. Ina Simonovska, 2009. "Income Differences and Prices of Tradables," 2009 Meeting Papers 692, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  31. Pula, Gabor & Santabárbara, Daniel, 2011. "Is China climbing up the quality ladder? Estimating cross country differences in product quality using Eurostat's COMEXT trade database," Working Paper Series 1310, European Central Bank.
  32. Vandenbussche, Hylke & Wauthy, Xavier, 2001. "Inflicting injury through product quality: how European antidumping policy disadvantages European producers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 101-116, March.
  33. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Xavier Y. Wauthy, 2003. "The option of joint purchase in vertically differentiated markets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 22(4), pages 817-829, November.
  34. Rosario Crinò & Paolo Epifani, 2010. "Productivity, Quality, and Export Intensities," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 824.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  35. Julien Martin, 2009. "Spatial Price Discrimination in International Markets," Working Papers 2009-21, CEPII research center.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2012018. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anne DAVISTER-LOGIST)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.