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Skill distribution and comparative advantage: a comparison of China and India

  • Asuyama, Yoko
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    This paper empirically examines the different comparative advantages of two emerging economic giants, China and India, in relation to the different skill distribution patterns in each country. By utilizing industry export data on China and India from 1983 to 2000, we find that a country with a greater dispersion of skills (i.e., India, especially in the earlier years) has higher exports in industries with shorter production chains, whereas a country with a more equal dispersion of skills (i.e., China, especially in the later years) is found to have higher exports in industries with longer production chains. The causal relationship is fairly robust across different specifications. This empirical evidence supports our assumption that the likely mechanism for these results is the negative impact of low-skilled workers on input quality, which accumulates and becomes larger as the length of production chains and the proportion of low-skilled workers in the economy increase.

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    File URL: http://ir.ide.go.jp/dspace/bitstream/2344/943/1/ARRIDE_Discussion_No.277_asuyama.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    Paper provided by Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO) in its series IDE Discussion Papers with number 277.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2011
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    Publication status: Published in IDE Discussion Paper. No. 277. 2011. 2
    Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper277
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    1. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    2. Cuñat, Alejandro & Melitz, Marc J., 2012. "Volatility, Labor Market Flexibility, and the Pattern of Comparative Advantage," Scholarly Articles 10914283, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    4. Davin Chor, 2008. "Unpacking Sources of Comparative Advantage : A Quantitative Approach," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22071, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    5. Carsten A Holz, 2005. "New Capital Estimates for China," Macroeconomics 0512001, EconWPA.
    6. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment Updates and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Matilde Bombardini & Giovanni Gallipoli & German Pupato, 2012. "Skill Dispersion and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2327-48, August.
    8. Gene M. Grossman, 2004. "The Distribution of Talent and the Pattern and Consequences of International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 209-239, February.
    9. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
    11. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. LO, Chu-Ping & LIU, Bih Jane, 2009. "Why India is mainly engaged in offshore service activities, while China is disproportionately engaged in manufacturing?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 236-245, June.
    13. Neil Gregory & Stanley Nollen & Stoyan Tenev, 2009. "New Industries from New Places : The Emergence of the Software and Hardware Industries in China and India," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13805, June.
    14. Holz, Carsten A., 2006. "Response to Gregory C. Chow's "New Capital Estimates for China: Comments"," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 193-197.
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