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Wake up and smell the ginseng: International trade and the rise of incremental innovation in low-wage countries

  • Diego Puga

    ()

    (IMDEA Social Sciences, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and CEPR)

  • Daniel Trefler

    ()

    (Rotman School of Management and Department of Economics, University of Toronto)

Increasingly, a small number of low-wage countries such as China and India are involved in incremental innovation. That is, they are responsible for resolving production line bugs and suggesting product improvements. We provide evidence of this new phenomenon and develop a model in which there is a transition from old style product cycle trade to trade involving incremental innovation in low-wage countries. The model explains why levels of involvement in incremental innovation vary across low-wage countries and across firms within each low-wage country. We draw out implications for sectoral earnings, living standards, the capital account and, foremost, international trade in goods.

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Paper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2009-01.

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Date of creation: 27 Jan 2009
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Development Economics, 91(1), January 2010: 64-76
Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2009-01
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  19. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Antras, Pol, 2005. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," Scholarly Articles 3196324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  28. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity ... for Some Plants," NBER Working Papers 13297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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