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On the relationship between intermediate input imports and export quality in China

Jiayun Xu and Qilin Mao

The Economics of Transition, 2018, vol. 26, issue 3, 429-467

Abstract: This paper studies the connection between intermediate input imports and firms’ export quality using firm‐level data from 2000 to 2007. Our regression results show that intermediate input imports promote manufacturing firms’ export quality through ‘variety effects’ and ‘innovation effects’, though the effects are significantly different among firms with different characteristics, and the magnitude of these effects differs across import sources and the quality of imported intermediate inputs themselves. Moreover, we find that a good institutional environment is conducive to the strengthening of the positive influence of intermediate input imports on export quality. Furthermore, the dynamic decomposition demonstrates that the reallocation effect is the key force through which imported inputs boost industrial aggregate quality growth. Taken together, these results suggest that product upgrading facilitated by quality embedded in imported intermediate inputs, a good institutional environment and market share reallocation help Chinese firms to improve the quality of their export products.

Date: 2018
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