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Trade of quality differentiated goods and import elasticities

Stefano Chiarlone

LIUC Papers in Economics from Cattaneo University (LIUC)

Abstract: This paper focus on the analysis of import demand functions in presence of quality differentiated products. This issue is more and more relevant because of the strong evidence of such kind of differentiation. Here we first derive individual elasticities, then we aggregate them to the national level without referring to the representative consumer hypothesis. We find that quality reduces reaction to prices without affecting that to income. Interestingly at the national level it seems to emerge that richer country should have imports less reactive to prices. That imply that they could be easily able to move towards high quality-high price production without external balance and competitive problems. The opposite seems to be true for poorer countries. Finally, we show that overlooking quality variables in the estimation generate underestimates of the elasticities to relative prices and to income.

Pages: 14 pages
Date: 2000-03
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