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Quality Selection, Chinese Exports and Theories of Heterogeneous Firm Trade

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  • Richard Kneller
  • Zhihong Yu

Abstract

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).

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Kneller & Zhihong Yu, "undated". "Quality Selection, Chinese Exports and Theories of Heterogeneous Firm Trade," Discussion Papers 08/44, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:08/44
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    File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gep/documents/papers/2008/08-44.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Peter K. Schott, 2008. "The relative sophistication of Chinese exports," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 5-49, January.
    6. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
    7. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jennie Bai & Jia Guo & Benjamin R. Mandel, 2013. "Going global: markups and product quality in the Chinese art market," Staff Reports 614, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. Eckel, Carsten & Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata & Neary, J. Peter, 2015. "Multi-product firms at home and away: Cost- versus quality-based competence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 216-232.
    3. Affortunato Francesca & Mattoscio Nicola, 2012. "Price Vs Quality Competition And The Spatial Pattern Of Average Prices In International Trade," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 204-210, July.
    4. Antoniades, Alexis, 2015. "Heterogeneous Firms, Quality, and Trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 263-273.
    5. Johnson, Robert C., 2012. "Trade and prices with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-56.
    6. Holger Gorg & Laszlo Halpern & Balazs Murakozy, 2010. "Why Do Within Firm-Product Export Prices Differ across Markets?," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1003, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    7. Roberto Basile & Sergio de Nardis & Alessandro Girardi, 2009. "Pricing to market when quality matters," ISAE Working Papers 123, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
    8. Ito, Tadashi, 2012. "Revisiting the determinants of unit values," IDE Discussion Papers 356, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).

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