NBER Working Papers by Hiau Looi Kee

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Working Papers

November 2010Firm Heterogeneity and Costly Trade: A New Estimation Strategy and Policy Experiments
with Ivan Cherkashin, Svetlana Demidova, Kala Krishna: w16557
This paper builds a tractable partial equilibrium model in the spirit of Melitz (2003), which incorporates two dimensions of heterogeneity: firms specific productivity shocks and firm-market specific demand shocks. The structural parameters of interest are estimated using only cross-sectional data, and counterfactual experiments regarding the effects of reducing costs, both fixed and marginal, or of trade preferences (with distortionary Rules of Origin) offered by an importing country are performed. Our counterfactuals make a case for "trade as aid" as such policies can create a “"win-win-win" scenario and are less subject to the usual worries regarding the efficacy of direct foreign aid. They also suggest that reducing fixed costs at various levels can be quite effective as export promoti...
December 2007Firm Level Heterogeneous Productivity and Demand Shocks: Evidence from Bangladesh
with Kala Krishna: w13698
This paper looks at the predictions of a standard heterogeneous firm model regarding the exports of firms across markets in response to a particular trade policy "experiment" and compares these predictions to the data. A unique feature of our data is that it has information on the exports of the same firm to different markets which allows us to look for a new set of predictions of such models. We argue that while certain predictions seem consistent with the data, others are not. We then describe the patterns found in the data and argue that firm and market specific demand shocks help explain a number of these anomalies. These parsimoniously capture factors, like business contacts or networks, or even fashion shocks, that make buyers more attracted to one firm rather than another in a parti...
December 2006Do Trade Policy Differences Induce Sorting? Theory and Evidence from Bangladeshi Apparel Exporters
with Svetlana Demidova, Kala Krishna: w12725
This paper provides a new heterogeneous firm model for trade where firms differ in their productivity and experience different market demand shocks. The model incorporates variations in trade policy, trade preferences, and the rules of origin needed to obtain them, to reflect real world differences faced by Bangladeshi garment exporters in the US and EU. We estimate firms' productivity using an extension of the Olley Pakes procedure that accounts for the biases arising from both demand shocks and productivity being unobserved. Predictions of the model are then tested non-parametrically and are shown to be supported empirically.
October 2004Export Variety and Country Productivity
with Robert C. Feenstra: w10830
This paper provides evidence on monopolistic competition models with endogenous technology by studying the effects of sectoral export variety on country productivity. The effects are estimated in a translog GDP function system based on data for 34 countries from 1982 to 1997. Country productivity is constructed and export variety is shown to be significant. Instruments such as tariffs, transport costs, and distance are shown to affect country productivity through export variety, and only through this channel. Overall, while export variety accounts for only 2% of cross-country productivity differences, it explains 13% of within-country productivity growth. A 10% increase in the export variety of all industries leads to a 1.3% increase in country productivity, while a 10 percentage point inc...

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