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Quality Ladders in a Ricardian Model of Trade with Nonhomothetic Preferences

  • Esteban Jaimovich
  • Vincenzo Merella

The literature on North-South trade has explored conditions under which international trade might magnify income disparities between the advanced North and the backward South. Little attention has yet been placed on the effect of trade on countries that do not display substantial dissimilarities concerning aggregate capital endowments. We show that even when no single country is technologically more advanced than any other one and productivity changes are uniform and identical in all countries, international trade may still be a source of income divergence when nonhomothetic preferences and quality ladders are jointly taken into account. Income divergence will be experienced when comparative advantages induce patterns of specialisation that, although optimal for each country at some initial point in time, do not offer the same scope for improvements in terms of subsequent quality upgrading of final products.

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File URL: http://degit.sam.sdu.dk/papers/degit_15/c015_033.pdf
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Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c015_033.

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Length: 42 pages JEL Classification: F11, F43
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c015_033
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  1. Benedetti Fasil, Cristiana & Borota, Teodora, 2010. "World Trade Patterns and Prices: The Role of Productivity and Quality Heterogeneity," Working Paper Series 2010:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Brooks, Eileen L., 2006. "Why don't firms export more? Product quality and Colombian plants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 160-178, June.
  3. Amit Khandelwal, 2007. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," 2007 Meeting Papers 244, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  7. 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.
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