Journal Article

The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders

Amit Khandelwal

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 77, issue 4, pages 1450-1476
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2010.00602.x
The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders

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Prices are typically used as proxies for countries' export quality. I relax this strong assumption by exploiting both price and quantity information to estimate the quality of products exported to the United States. Higher quality is assigned to products with higher market shares conditional on price. The estimated qualities reveal substantial heterogeneity in product markets' scope for quality differentiation, or their “quality ladders”. I use this variation to explain the heterogeneous impact of low-wage competition on US manufacturing employment and output. Markets characterized by relatively short quality ladders are associated with larger employment and output declines resulting from low-wage competition.

Journal Article.  11550 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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