Using average import prices (unit values) as proxies for quality, a large body of the international trade literature finds both theoretical and empirical support for the positive relationship between importer income and quality of imports. Several authors, however, argue that the empirical evidence of the link between income and product quality might be spurious, since import prices could be affected by other factors than product quality. This paper takes into account this issue with a new theoretical and empirical approach. Building on Khandelwal’s (2010) discrete choice model approach, where quality is inferred by quantitative market shares as well as unit values, we develop a model that allows for willingness to pay for quality to vary with income. We empirically validate the theoretical relationship between importer income and product quality by using the Eurostat’s COMEXT database, which collects customs data reported by EU countries at 8-digit disaggregation. Our estimations support the positive link between consumer income and product quality, which is also robust across sectors.

Do the rich (really) consume higher-quality goods? Evidence from International Trade Data

Merella, Vincenzo;
2016

Abstract

Using average import prices (unit values) as proxies for quality, a large body of the international trade literature finds both theoretical and empirical support for the positive relationship between importer income and quality of imports. Several authors, however, argue that the empirical evidence of the link between income and product quality might be spurious, since import prices could be affected by other factors than product quality. This paper takes into account this issue with a new theoretical and empirical approach. Building on Khandelwal’s (2010) discrete choice model approach, where quality is inferred by quantitative market shares as well as unit values, we develop a model that allows for willingness to pay for quality to vary with income. We empirically validate the theoretical relationship between importer income and product quality by using the Eurostat’s COMEXT database, which collects customs data reported by EU countries at 8-digit disaggregation. Our estimations support the positive link between consumer income and product quality, which is also robust across sectors.
Al utilizar el precio (valor unitario) de los bienes importados como estadístico sufi ciente de su calidad, gran parte de la literatura del comercio internacional encuentra evidencia de una relación positiva entre la renta del importador y la calidad de los productos importados. Sin embargo, esta evidencia podría ser espuria ya que el precio de las importaciones puede estar afectado por factores distintos a la calidad. Este trabajo tiene en cuenta esta limitación con un nuevo desarrollo teórico y empírico. Por un lado, extiende el enfoque de Khandelwal (2010), en el que la calidad de los productos importados se infi ere tanto por su cuota de mercado como por su valor unitario, al introducir un modelo teórico en el que la disposición a pagar por la calidad es creciente con la renta del consumidor. Por otro, utiliza para contrastar esta relación la base de datos COMEXT de Eurostat, que recoge el comercio bilateral de aduanas de cada país de la UE a un nivel de desagregación de ocho dígitos. Así, se valida la relación positiva y signifi cativa entre la renta de los consumidores y la calidad de los productos demandados que, a su vez, es robusta entre sectores.
Quality; consumer income; import shares; unit values; nested logit demand
Calidad; renta del consumidor; cuotas de mercado; valor unitario; comercio internacional; modelo logit anidado
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/198384
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