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Credit Constraints, Quality, and Export Prices: Theory and Evidence from China

  • Fan, Haichao
  • Lai, Edwin L.-C.
  • Li, Yao Amber

This paper examines (i) the relationship between the credit constraints faced by a firm and the unit value prices of its exports, as well as (ii) the relationship between the export prices of a firm and its productivity. The paper extends Melitz's (2003) model of trade with heterogeneous firms by introducing endogenous quality, credit constraints and marketing costs. There are three key findings. First, there exists a positive relationship between firm productivity and export prices because the choice of higher-quality inputs is associated with higher productivity. Second, tighter credit constraints faced by a firm reduces its optimal prices as its choice of lower-quality inputs dominates the price distortion effect resulting from credit constraints. Third, if one adopts the alternative assumption that quality is exogenous across firms, then completely opposite results would be expected: there would be a negative relationship between prices and productivity; prices increase as firms face tighter credit constraints. An empirical analysis using Chinese bank loans data, Chinese firm-level data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC), and Chinese customs data strongly supports the predictions of the endogenous-quality model, and confirms the existence of the quality adjustment effect: firms optimally choose lower quality when facing tighter credit constraints. Our finding of a significant impact of credit constraints on export prices indicates the prevalence of heterogeneity of product quality across firms.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 40857.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40857
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  1. James Riedel & Jing Jin & Jian Gao, 2007. "Overview of Economic Reforms and Outcomes, from How China Grows: Investment, Finance, and Reform
    [How China Grows: Investment, Finance, and Reform]
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  2. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1611-1638, December.
  3. Antoine Gervais, 2013. "Product Quality and Firm Heterogeneity in International Trade," Working Papers 13-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  5. 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.
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  8. Pinelopi Goldberg & Amit Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," Working Papers 1179, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  9. Gordon M. Phillips & Giorgo Sertsios, 2011. "How Do Firm Financial Conditions Affect Product Quality and Pricing?," NBER Working Papers 17233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Robert C. Feenstra & Zhiyuan Li & Miaojie Yu, 2014. "Exports and Credit Constraints under Incomplete Information: Theory and Evidence from China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 729-744, October.
  13. Hongbin Cai & Qiao Liu, 2009. "Competition and Corporate Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Chinese Industrial Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 764-795, 04.
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  15. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530, 05.
  16. John Sutton, 2007. "Sunk Costs and Market Structure: Price Competition, Advertising, and the Evolution of Concentration," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262693585, June.
  17. Miaojie Yu, 2010. "Processing Trade, Firm's Productivity, and Tariff Reductions : Evidence from Chinese Products," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22799, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  18. Brandt, Loren & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Yifan, 2012. "Creative accounting or creative destruction? Firm-level productivity growth in Chinese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 339-351.
  19. Minetti, Raoul & Zhu, Susan Chun, 2011. "Credit constraints and firm export: Microeconomic evidence from Italy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 109-125, March.
  20. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2006. "A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 12712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Johnson, Robert C., 2012. "Trade and prices with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-56.
  22. Lu, Jiangyong & Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2010. "Exporting behavior of foreign affiliates: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 197-205, July.
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