NBER Working Papers and Publications
|April 2018||Escaping Import Competition and Downstream Tariffs|
with Ann Harrison: w24527
We propose and provide evidence for a new source of gains from trade: Firms invest in product differentiation to escape import competition. In the data and in the model, these investments are associated with increases in measured productivity, introduction of new goods, and shifts to skill-intensive sectors. Investment in differentiation downstream leads upstream firms to also invest in differentiation. For China, these “downstream tariff” reductions increase the measured productivity of suppliers by more than they increase the productivity of firms directly competing with imports.
|March 2014||Trade, Skills, and Quality Upgrading: A Theory with Evidence from Colombia|
with Marcela Eslava, Daniel Xu: w19992
We develop a model of international trade with heterogeneous firms and endogenous quality choices. Producing higher quality involves returns to scale, it is intensive in skilled labor and high-quality inputs. Firms' quality choices are interrelated because firms sell their goods to consumers and to other firms. We estimate the model using data on manufacturing plants in Colombia before the trade liberalization, simulate a counterfactual liberalization and compare the results to post-liberalization data. Like other unilateral trade liberalizations in developing countries, the skill premium and skill intensity in manufacturing increased, and the size of firms decreased in Colombia. In the model, lower tariffs lead importers and exporters to upgrade quality, increasing the domestic demand and...