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

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  • Benedetti Fasil, Cristiana

    () (European University Institute)

  • Borota, Teodora

    () (Department of Economics)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Benedetti Fasil, Cristiana & Borota, Teodora, 2010. "World Trade Patterns and Prices: The Role of Productivity and Quality Heterogeneity," Working Paper Series 2010:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2010_007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Esteban Jaimovich & Vincenzo Merella, 2012. "Quality Ladders In A Ricardian Model Of Trade With Nonhomothetic Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 908-937, August.
    2. Jaimovich, Esteban & Merella, Vincenzo, 2015. "Love for quality, comparative advantage, and trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 376-391.
    3. Nguyen, Daniel X., 2012. "Demand uncertainty: Exporting delays and exporting failures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 336-344.
    4. Daqing Yao & John Whalley, 2015. "Assessing the Effects of the MFA/ATC from US and World Trade Data after Its Removal," NBER Working Papers 21299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Schetter, Ulrich, 2016. "Comparative Advantages with Product Complexity and Product Quality," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145933, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    International trade patterns; North-South trade; import and export prices; heterogeneous firms; product quality;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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