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Wake up and smell the ginseng: The rise of incremental innovation in low-wage countries

  • Diego Puga
  • Daniel Trefler

Increasingly, a small number of low-wage countries such as China and India are involved in innovation -- not 'big ideas' innovation, but the constant incremental innovations needed to stay ahead in business. We provide some evidence of this new phenomenon and develop a model in which there is a transition from old-style product-cycle trade to trade involving incremental innovation in low-wage countries. We explain why levels of involvement in innovation vary across low-wage countries and even across firms within each low-wage country. We then draw out implications for the location of production, trade, capital flows, earnings and living standards.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-193.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-193
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 978-5283

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  1. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2002. "Outsourcing Versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 3647, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Globalization and the empowerment of talent," Munich Reprints in Economics 19254, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Scholarly Articles 3196327, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Diego Puga & Daniel Trefler, 2002. "Knowledge Creation and Control in Organizations," NBER Working Papers 9121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Power Inside the Firm and the Market: a General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 3526, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Wilfred J. Ethier & James R. Markusen, 1991. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pol Antras, 2004. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," 2004 Meeting Papers 19, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Scholarly Articles 4554125, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 8728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," NBER Working Papers 3201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 253-66, April.
  13. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2003. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," CEPR Discussion Papers 3737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Endogemour Product Cycles," Papers 10-89, Tel Aviv.
  18. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  20. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  21. John Sutton, 2004. "The auto-component supply chain in China and India: a benchmark study," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2292, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  22. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Endogenous Prduct Cycles," Papers 144, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
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