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Does tougher import competition foster product quality upgrading ?

Author

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  • Fernandes, Ana M.
  • Paunov, Caroline

Abstract

Over the past two decades, globalization, and more specifically the increased exposure to competition from low-price producers in China and India, has created a new economic environment for other emerging economies. The most advantageous way for manufacturing firms in those economies to position themselves in domestic and international markets is to offer upgraded and differentiated rather than"mundane"labor-intensive products. This paper investigates whether increased competitive pressure from imports forces firms to improve the quality of their products. The econometric analysis relies on a rich dataset of Chilean manufacturing plants and their products. Product quality is measured with unit values (average prices) and industry-level transport costs are used as an exogenous measure of import competition. The authors find a positive and robust effect of import competition on product quality. This effect is found to be particularly strong for non-exporting plants. The results also show that increased import competition from less advanced economies is the major cause for the positive impact on quality upgrading. The overall evidence points to the benefits of trade openness for product innovation but demonstrates at the same time that competitive pressure alone will not enable local plants to catch up with leading world producers.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernandes, Ana M. & Paunov, Caroline, 2009. "Does tougher import competition foster product quality upgrading ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4894, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4894
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2013. "Republic of Turkey Reform for Competitiveness Technical Assistance : Fostering Open and Efficient Markets through Effective Competition Policies," World Bank Other Operational Studies 17010, The World Bank.
    2. Aldaba, Rafaelita M., 2012. "Trade Reforms, Competition, and Innovation in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2012-06, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    3. Iacovone, Leonardo & Rauch, Ferdinand & Winters, L. Alan, 2013. "Trade as an engine of creative destruction: Mexican experience with Chinese competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 379-392.
    4. Bas, Maria & Strauss-Kahn, Vanessa, 2015. "Input-trade liberalization, export prices and quality upgrading," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 250-262.
    5. Murphy, Gavin & Siedschlag, Iulia, 2012. "The Effect of Real Exchange Rate Changes on Labour Productivity Growth," Papers WP439, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    6. Ana M. Fernandes & Caroline Paunov, 2015. "The Risks of Innovation: Are Innovating Firms Less Likely to Die?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 638-653, July.
    7. Nebojsa Stojcic & Marija Becic & Perica Vojinic, 2012. "The Competitiveness of Exports from Manufacturing Industries in Croatia and Slovenia to the EU-15 Market: A Dynamic Panel Analysis," Croatian Economic Survey, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, vol. 14(1), pages 69-105, April.
    8. Jianhong Zhang & Chaohong Zhou & Arjen van Witteloostuijn & Haico Ebbers, 2013. "What does the Chinese market need? An empirical study of the determinants of Chinese imports, 1996--2008," Asia Pacific Business Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 402-420, July.
    9. Daniel Lederman & William F. Maloney, 2012. "Does What You Export Matter? In Search of Empirical Guidance for Industrial Policies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9371, June.
    10. Jennie Bai & Jia Guo & Benjamin R. Mandel, 2013. "Going global: markups and product quality in the Chinese art market," Staff Reports 614, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    11. Iraj Hashi & Nebojša Stojčić, 2013. "Knowledge Spillovers, Innovation Activities, And Competitiveness Of Industries In Eu Member And Candidate Countries," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 58(198), pages 7-34, July - Se.

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    Keywords

    Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Markets and Market Access; Economic Theory&Research; Water and Industry; Access to Markets;

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