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World Trade Patterns and Prices: The Role of Productivity and Quality Heterogeneity

Listed author(s):
  • Benedetti Fasil, Cristiana

    ()

    (European University Institute)

  • Borota, Teodora

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

This paper analyzes the role of product quality and labor efficiency in shaping the trade patterns and trade intensities within and across two groups of countries, the developed and richer North and the developing South. Taking prices as a proxy for quality, recent empirical literature identifies a positive relation between income per capita and both export and import prices, suggesting that rich countries trade goods of relatively higher quality. Instead of relying on specific demand side mechanisms such as non-homothetic preferences, we focus on the North-South differences in technology. We employ a four country North-South trade model with two dimensions of firm heterogeneity. Differences in firms’ product qualities and cost efficiencies result in a price distribution generating different consumption bundles and the observed export and import prices across rich and poor countries. Furthermore, the resulting total expenditure allocation across quality shows that the North (South) spends a larger share of its income on high (low) quality even with the same homothetic preferences across regions.

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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010:7.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 15 Apr 2010
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2010_007
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Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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