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Measuring quality and non-cost competitiveness at a country-product level

  • Francesco Di Comite

This paper contributes to the ongoing debate on macroeconomic imbalances and external competitiveness by developing a set of indicators of export capability at a country-product level which can be used to complement the existing toolkit of instruments based mostly on unit labour costs and relative price levels. A micro-founded methodology is here proposed to extract information on the capacity of a country's exporters to compete abroad by combining trade and macroeconomic data. In particular, light is shed on two independent components of demand for a particular variety (country-product combination): markups-shifting "quality" and sales-boosting "non-cost competitiveness". Together with cost efficiency and information on foreign prices and consumption, these additional indicators may foster our understanding of the determinants of a country's external position, thus providing better guidance for policymaking.

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File URL: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/economic_paper/2012/ecp467_en.htm
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Paper provided by Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission in its series European Economy - Economic Papers with number 467.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0467
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. repec:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:1:p:295-316 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2009. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," NBER Working Papers 15342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality and International Trade," 2011 Meeting Papers 415, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Robert C. Feenstra & David E. Weinstein, 2010. "Globalization, Markups and U.S. Welfare," NBER Working Papers 15749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Di Comite, Francesco & Thisse, Jacques-François & Vandenbussche, Hylke, 2012. "Verti-zontal Differentiation in Monopolistic Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 8752, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse, 2002. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 409-436, May.
  10. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Fajgelbaum, Pablo & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2011. "Income distribution, product quality, and international trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5843, The World Bank.
  12. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," NBER Working Papers 11555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  14. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis, 2012. "International Prices and Endogenous Quality," NBER Working Papers 18314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Konstantins Benkovskis & Ramune Rimgailaite, 2010. "The Quality and Variety of Exports from New EU Member States: Evidence from Very Disaggregated Data," Working Papers 2010/02, Latvijas Banka.
  16. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  17. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  18. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  19. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Woerz, 2012. "Evaluation of Non-price Competitiveness of Exports from Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Countries in the EU Market," Working Papers 2012/01, Latvijas Banka.
  20. Hiau Looi Kee & Kala Krishna, 2008. "Firm-Level Heterogeneous Productivity and Demand Shocks: Evidence from Bangladesh," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 457-62, May.
  21. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
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