Technological Diffusion and Dynamic Gains from Trade
We consider a technologically backward country and analyse the implications on competitiveness and long-run growth of the quality content of traded goods. We build an endogenous growth model where quality improvements stem from research activity taking place in the R&D sector, and where the relative quality content of goods matter for export and import demand functions. We show that the possibility of an optimal growth with a balanced current account and no adverse terms-of-trade effects is closely related to the evolution of the countryâ€™s technological distance with respect to the trade partner: with an unfavourable quality-dynamics the country cannot engage successfully in â€œnon-priceâ€ competition. Thus, long-run growth is coupled with an adverse export to import ratio, and a balanced trade requires a continuous offsetting fall in relative prices, either through devaluations or wage deflations. We then allow for international knowledge spillovers that increase the productivity of labour resources devoted to research in a way which is proportional to the technological distance between the countries. We show that the greater the countryâ€™s ability to absorb foreign knowledge and improve upon foreign technologies, the greater the gains in competitiveness, and the benefits to long-run growth. A numerical simulation confirms our findings.
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