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Quality Selection, Chinese Exports and Theories of Heterogeneous Firm Trade

  • Richard Kneller
  • Zhihong Yu

Recent models of international trade have identified product quality as an important determinant of bilateral trade flows. Yet relatively little is understood about the relationship between the characteristics of the export market and the quality of products. In this paper we examine this link using Chinese data. We find evidence that product unit values vary with standard gravity variables in a different manner across sectors of the Chinese economy, and run contrary to earlier findings for the U.S. These results are not compatible with existing heterogeneous firm trade models such as Melitz (2003) model and its extension to include product quality by Baldwin and Harrigan (2007). To explain these differences we propose a heterogeneous firm trade model with quality differences and spatial price discrimination based on Melitz and Ottaviano (2007).

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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, GEP in its series Discussion Papers with number 08/44.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:08/44
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  1. Peter K. Schott, 2006. "The Relative Sophistication of Chinese Exports," NBER Working Papers 12173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  3. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  4. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2002. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," NBER Working Papers 9023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Yo Chul Choi & David Hummels & Chong Xiang, 2006. "Explaining Import Variety and Quality: The Role of the Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 12531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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