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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. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-Francois Tissse, 1999. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-65, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  2. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2012. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 379-436.
  3. 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.
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  7. Francesco Di Comite & Jacques-François Thisse & Hylke Vandenbussche, 2011. "Verti-zontal differentiation in monopolistic competition," Working Paper Research 216, National Bank of Belgium.
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  9. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality and International Trade," 2011 Meeting Papers 415, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  12. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Robert C. Feenstra & David E. Weinstein, 2010. "Globalization, Markups and U.S. Welfare," NBER Working Papers 15749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2012. "Non-Price Competitiveness Gains of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Countries in the EU Market," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 27-47.
  15. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  16. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis, 2012. "International Prices and Endogenous Quality," NBER Working Papers 18314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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