Is China climbing up the quality ladder? Estimating cross country differences in product quality using Eurostat's COMEXT trade database
There is an ongoing debate in the literature about the quality content of Chinese exports and to what extent China imposes a threat to the market positions of advanced economies. While China’s export structure is very similar to that of the advanced world, its export unit values are well below the level of developed economies. Building on the assumption that unit values reflect quality the prevailing view of the literature is that China exports low quality varieties of the same products than its advanced competitors. This paper challenges this view by relaxing the assumption that unit values reflect quality. We derive the quality of Chinese exports to the European Union by estimating disaggregated demand functions from a discrete choice model. The paper has two major findings. First, China’s share on the European Union market is larger than would be justified by its relatively low average prices, implying that the quality of Chinese export products is relatively high compared to many competitors. Second, China has gained quality relative to other competitors since 1995, indicating that China is climbing up the quality ladder. The relatively high and improving quality of China’s exports may be explained by the increasing role of global production networks in China. JEL Classification: F1, F12, F14, F15, F23
|Date of creation:||Mar 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 69 1344 0
Fax: +49 69 1344 6000
Web page: http://www.ecb.europa.eu/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Gabor Pula & Daniel Santabárbara, 2012.
"Is china climbing up the quality ladder?,"
Banco de Espa�a Working Papers
1209, Banco de Espa�a.
- 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.
- Pula, Gabor & Daniel Santabarbara, Daniel, 2012. "Is China climbing up the quality ladder?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 23/2012, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
- Robert Koopman & William Powers & Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010.
"Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Tracing Value Added in Global Production Chains,"
NBER Working Papers
16426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert Koopman & William Powers & Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2011. "Give Credit where Credit is Due: Tracing Value Added in Global Production Chains," Working Papers 312011, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
- Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
- Aiginger, Karl, 1997. "The Use of Unit Values to Discriminate between Price and Quality Competition," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(5), pages 571-92, September.
- David Roland Holst & John Weiss, 2004. "ASEAN and China: Export Rivals or Partners in Regional Growth?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(8), pages 1255-1274, 08.
- Xu, Bin, 2010. "Erratum to "The sophistication of exports: Is China special?" [China Economic Review 21 (3) (2010) 482-493]," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 671-672, December.
- Amit Khandelwal, 2009.
"The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders,"
NBER Working Papers
15178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dani Rodrik, 2006.
"What's So Special about China's Exports?,"
NBER Working Papers
11947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ari Van Assche & Byron Gangnes, 2010.
"Electronics production upgrading: is China exceptional?,"
Applied Economics Letters,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 477-482.
- Ari Van Assche & Byron Gangnes, 2007. "Electronics Production Upgrading: Is China Exceptional?," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-16, CIRANO.
- Ari Van Assche & Byron Gangnes, 2007. "Electronics Production Upgrading: Is China Exceptional?," Working Papers 200722, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
- Lionel Fontagné & Guillaume Gaulier & Soledad Zignago, 2008.
"Specialization across varieties and North-South competition,"
CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 51-91, 01.
- Lionel Fontagné & Guillaume Gaulier & Soledad Zignago, 2007. "Specialisation across Varieties within Products and North-South Competition," Working Papers 2007-06, CEPII research center.
- Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008.
"Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality,"
NBER Working Papers
13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kai Guo & Papa N'Diaye, 2009. "Is China's Export-Oriented Growth Sustainable?," IMF Working Papers 09/172, International Monetary Fund.
- Peter K. Schott, 2006.
"The Relative Sophistication of Chinese Exports,"
NBER Working Papers
12173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Konstantins Benkovskis & Ramune Rimgailaite, 2010.
"The Quality and Variety of Exports from New EU Member States: Evidence from Very Disaggregated Data,"
2010/02, Latvijas Banka.
- Konstantins Benkovskis & Ramune Rimgailaite, 2011. "The quality and variety of exports from the new EU member states," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 19(4), pages 723-747, October.
- Barry Eichengreen & Yeongseop Rhee & Hui Tong, 2004. "The Impact of China on the Exports of Other Asian Countries," NBER Working Papers 10768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- XU, Bin & LU, Jiangyong, 2009. "Foreign direct investment, processing trade, and the sophistication of China's exports," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 425-439, September.
- 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.
- Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
- Jane T. Haltmaier & Shaghil Ahmed & Brahima Coulibaly & Ross Knippenberg & Sylvain Leduc & Mario Marazzi & Beth Anne Wilson, 2007. "The role of China in Asia: engine, conduit, or steamroller?," International Finance Discussion Papers 904, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Ursel Baumann & Filippo di Mauro, 2007. "Globalisation and euro area trade: Interactions and challenges," Occasional Paper Series 55, European Central Bank.
- Randi Boorstein & Robert C. Feenstra, 1987. "Quality Upgrading and its Welfare Cost in U.S. Steel Imports, 1969-74," NBER Working Papers 2452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
- Xu, Bin, 2010. "The sophistication of exports: Is China special?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 482-493, September.
- Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-product Versus Within-product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 646-677, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111310. 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: (Official Publications)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.