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Product Quality and Intra-Industry Trade

Listed author(s):
  • Tadashi Ito
  • Toshihiro Okubo

In this study, we argue that the conventional intra-industry trade (IIT) index does not directly address the quality issue and propose a methodology to make full use of unit-price gap information to deduce quality differences between simultaneously exported and imported products. By applying this measure to German trade data at the eight-digit level, we study the quality change of Chinese export goods in its IIT with Germany. We compare the case of China with those of Eastern European countries, which are also major trading partners of Germany. Our results show that the unit-value difference in IIT between Germany and Eastern European countries is clearly narrowing. However, China’s export prices to Germany are much lower than Germany’s export prices to China, and this gap has not narrowed over the last 23 years. This is at odds with the common perception that China’s product quality has improved, as documented by Rodrik (2006) and Schott (2008). Our results support Xu (2010), which argued that incorporating the quality aspect of the exported goods weakens or even eliminates the evidence of the sophistication of Chinese export goods in Rodrik (2006).

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File URL: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/cama_crawford_anu_edu_au/2014-12/74_2014_ito_okubo.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series CAMA Working Papers with number 2014-74.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2014
Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2014-74
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  1. Falvey, Rodney E., 1981. "Commercial policy and intra-industry trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 495-511, November.
  2. Amit Khandelwal, 2010. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1450-1476.
  3. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2009. "The Rise of China and East Asian Export Performance: Is the Crowding-Out Fear Warranted?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 234-266, 02.
  4. AZHAR, Abdul K.M. & Elliott, Robert J.R. & Liu, Junting, 2008. "On the measurement of product quality in intra-industry trade: An empirical test for China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 336-344, June.
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  8. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1384-1402, December.
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  16. Lionel Fontagné & Michaël Freudenberg, 1997. "Intra-Industry Trade: Methodological Issues Reconsidered," Working Papers 1997-01, CEPII research center.
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  18. Lars Jensen & Teit Lüthje, 2009. "Driving forces of vertical intra-industry trade in Europe 1996–2005," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 145(3), pages 469-488, October.
  19. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  20. Jarreau, Joachim & Poncet, Sandra, 2012. "Export sophistication and economic growth: Evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 281-292.
  21. Clive Hamilton & Paul Kniest, 1991. "Trade liberalisation, structural adjustment and intra-industry trade: A note," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 127(2), pages 356-367, June.
  22. Marius Brülhart & Robert Elliott, 2002. "Labour-market effects of intra-industry trade: Evidence for the United Kingdom," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 138(2), pages 207-228, June.
  23. Greenaway, David & Hine, Robert C & Milner, Chris, 1995. "Vertical and Horizontal Intra-industry Trade: A Cross Industry Analysis for the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1505-1518, November.
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  25. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-822, December.
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  28. 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.
  29. 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.
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