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Quality, Variable Markups, and Welfare: A Quantitative General Equilibrium Analysis of Export Prices

Haichao Fan, Yao Amber Li, Sichuang Xu, Stephen R. Yeaple

NBER Working Paper No. 25611
Issued in February 2019, Revised in April 2020
NBER Program(s):Industrial Organization, International Trade and Investment

Modern trade models attribute the dispersion of international prices to physical and man-made barriers to trade, to the pricing-to-market by heterogeneous producers and to differences in the quality of output offered by firms. This paper presents a tractable general equilibrium model that incorporates all three of these mechanisms. Our model allows us to confront Chinese firm-level data on the prices charged and revenues earned within and across markets. We show that all three mechanisms are necessary to fit the distribution of prices and revenues across firms and markets. Accounting for endogenous quality heterogeneity across firms and markets is shown to be critical for the response of prices to trade and tariff shocks.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25611

Published: Haichao Fan & Amber Li & Sichuang Xu & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2020. "Quality, variable markups, and welfare: A quantitative general equilibrium analysis of export prices," Journal of International Economics, .

 
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