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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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File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gep/documents/papers/2008/08-44.pdf
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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. 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.
  2. Baldwin, Richard & Harrigan, James, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  6. 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.
  7. Peter K. Schott, 2008. "The relative sophistication of Chinese exports," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 5-49, 01.
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