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Product Quality, Linder, and the Direction of Trade

  • Juan Carlos Hallak

A substantial amount of theoretical work predicts that quality plays an important role as a determinant of the global patterns of bilateral trade. This paper develops an empirical framework to estimate the empirical relevance of this prediction. In particular, it identifies the effect of quality operating on the demand side through the relationship between per capita income and aggregate demand for quality. The model yields predictions for bilateral flows at the sectoral level, and is estimated using cross-sectional data for bilateral trade among 60 countries in 1995. The empirical results confirm the theoretical prediction: rich countries tend to import relatively more from countries that produce high quality goods. The paper also shows that a severe aggregation bias explains the failure of the literature so far to find consistent empirical support for the "Linder hypothesis", the conjectured corollary to the first theory relating product quality and the direction of trade.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10877.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10877.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Publication status: published as Hallak, Juan Carlos. "Product Quality And The Direction Of Trade," Journal of International Economics, 2006, v68(1,Jan), 238-265.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10877
Note: ITI
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  1. Muhammed Dalgin & Devashish Mitra & Vitor Trindade, 2004. "Inequality, Nonhomothetic Preferences, and Trade: A Gravity Approach," NBER Working Papers 10800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-11, December.
  3. Dow, James & da Costa Werlang, Sergio Ribeiro, 1992. "Homothetic preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 389-394.
  4. Edward E. Leamer & James Levinsohn, 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2000. "A Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods under Nonhomothetic Preferences: Demand Complementarities, Income Distribution, and North-South Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1093-1120, December.
  6. Hunter, Linda, 1991. "The contribution of nonhomothetic preferences to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 345-358, May.
  7. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2003. "The Effect of Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality on the Direction of International Trade 2002," Working Papers 493, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  8. 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.
  9. Deardorff, Alan V., 1984. "Testing trade theories and predicting trade flows," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 467-517 Elsevier.
  10. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  11. Deardorff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade : Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Papers 95-05, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  12. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-22, December.
  13. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1384-1402, December.
  14. Peter K. Schott, 2001. "One Size Fits All? Heckscher-Ohlin Specialization in Global Production," NBER Working Papers 8244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael McPherson & Michael Redfearn & Margie Tieslau, 2001. "International trade and developing countries: an empirical investigation of the Linder hypothesis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(5), pages 649-657.
  16. Francois, Joseph F & Kaplan, Seth, 1996. "Aggregate Demand Shifts, Income Distribution, and the Linder Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 244-50, May.
  17. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-product Versus Within-product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 646-677, May.
  19. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer, 1991. "Quality and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  21. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1989. "The Generalized Gravity Equation, Monopolistic Competition, and the Factor-Proportions Theory in International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 143-53, February.
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