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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. Miaojie Yu, 2010. "Processing Trade, Firms Productivity, and Tariff Reductions : Evidence from Chinese Products," Trade Working Papers 22873, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. 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]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  3. Robert C. Feenstra & Zhiyuan Li & Miaojie Yu, 2011. "Exports and Credit Constraints Under Incomplete Information: Theory and Evidence from China," NBER Working Papers 16940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stijn Claessens & Luc Laeven, 2003. "Financial Development, Property Rights, and Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2401-2436, December.
  5. Eric Verhoogen, 2007. "Trade, quality upgrading and wage inequality in the Mexican manufacturing sector," Discussion Papers 0607-08, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Johnson, Robert C., 2012. "Trade and prices with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-56.
  8. Chor, Davin & Manova, Kalina, 2012. "Off the cliff and back? Credit conditions and international trade during the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 117-133.
  9. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Amiti, Mary & Konings, Jozef, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2010. "A Product-Quality View of the Linder Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 453-466, August.
  12. 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.
  13. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Amit Kumar Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2010. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1727-1767, November.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Antoine Gervais, 2013. "Product Quality and Firm Heterogeneity in International Trade," Working Papers 13-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  18. 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.
  19. Dinlersoz, Emin M. & Yorukoglu, Mehmet, 2008. "Informative advertising by heterogeneous firms," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 168-191, June.
  20. 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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