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  • Author: Jie Bai, Jiahua Liu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: It is well known that various forms of non-tariff trade barriers exist within a country. Empirically, it is difficult to measure these barriers as they can take many forms. We take advantage of a nationwide VAT rebate policy reform in China as a natural experiment to identify the existence of these intranational barriers due to local protectionism and study the impact on exports and exporting firms. As a result of shifting tax rebate burden, the reform leads to a greater incentive of the provincial governments to block the domestic flow of non-local goods to local export intermediaries. We develop an open-economy heterogenous firm model that incorporates multiple domestic regions and multiple exporting technologies, including the intermediary sector. Consistent with the model’s predictions, we find that rising local protectionism leads to a reduction in interprovincial trade, more “inward-looking” sourcing behavior of local intermediaries, and a reduction in manufacturing exports. Analysis using micro firm-level data further shows that private companies with greater baseline reliance on export intermediaries are more adversely affected.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Reform, Tariffs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jie Bai, Panle Barwick, Shengmao Cao, Shanjun Li
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Are quid pro quo (technology for market access) policies effective in facilitating knowledge spillover to developing countries? We study this question in the context of the Chinese automobile industry where foreign firms are required to set up joint ventures with domestic firms in return for market access. Using a unique dataset of detailed quality measures along multiple dimensions of vehicle performance, we document empirical patterns consistent with knowledge spillovers through both ownership affiliation and geographical proximity: joint ventures and Chinese domestic firms with ownership or location linkage tend to specialize in similar quality dimensions. The identification primarily relies on within-product variation across quality dimensions and the results are robust to a variety of specifications. The pattern is not driven by endogenous joint-venture network formation, overlapping customer base, or learning by doing considerations. Leveraging additional micro datasets on part suppliers and worker flow, we document that supplier network and labor mobility are important channels in mediating knowledge spillovers. However, these channels are not tied to ownership affiliations. Finally, we calibrate a simple learning model and conduct policy counterfactuals to examine the role of quid pro quo. Our findings show that ownership affiliation facilitates learning but quality improvement is primarily driven by the other mechanisms.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Developing World
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jie Bai, Ludovica Gazze, Yukun Wang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Collective reputation implies an important externality. Among firms trading internationally, quality shocks about one firm’s products could affect the demand of other firms from the same origin country. We study this issue in the context of a large-scale scandal that affected the Chinese dairy industry in 2008. Leveraging rich firm-product level administrative data and official quality inspection reports, we find that the export revenue of contaminated firms dropped by 84% after the scandal, relative to the national industrial trend, and the spillover effect on non-contaminated firms is measured at 64% of the direct effect. Notably, firms deemed innocent by government inspections did not fare any better than noninspected firms. These findings highlight the importance of collective reputation in international trade and the challenges governments might face in signaling quality and restoring trust. Finally, we investigate potential mechanisms that could mediate the strength of the reputation spillover. We find that the spillover effects are smaller in destinations where people have better information about parties involved in the scandal. New firms are more vulnerable to the collective reputation damage than established firms. Supply chain structure matters especially in settings where firms are less vertically integrated and exhibit fragmented upstream-downstream relationships.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Business , Global Political Economy, Accountability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Yi Huang, Chen Lin, Sibo Liu, Heiwai Tang
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: On March 22, 2018, Trump proposed to impose tariffs on up to $50 billion of Chinese imports leading to a significant concern over the "Trade War" between the US and China. We evaluate the market responses to this event for firms in both countries, depending on their direct and indirect exposures to US-China trade. US firms that are more dependent on exports to and imports from China have lower stock and bond returns but higher default risks in the short time window around the announcement date. We also find that firms' indirect exposure to US-China trade through domestic input-output linkages affects their responses to the announcement. These findings suggest that the structure of US-China trade is much more complex than the simplistic view of global trade that engendered Trump's "Trade War" against China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Trade Wars, Exports
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Jeong Hyung-Gon
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Since the global economic crisis triggered in the United States in 2008, the East Asian economic region has received particular attention as it achieved relatively solid economic growth compared to developed countries, which struggled with recession. The discussion on economic cooperation and economic liberalization within East Asia has mainly focused on the RCEP, with this discussion being led by ASEAN as it calls for ASEAN centrality. ASEAN is currently the second-largest overseas investment destination and second-largest trading partner for South Korea, making it an important partner in economic cooperation for South Korea. Particularly, as China is openly implementing economic retaliatory measures against South Korea for the deployment of THAAD missiles in the nation, South Korea has become more interested in the ASEAN market as it strives to diversify its trade and investment portfolio. Under this background, this research examines the characteristics of ASEAN FDI by income level and doing business conditions, then conducts an empirical analysis of determination factors to draw policy implications for stronger economic cooperation with ASEAN.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Lee Sooyoung
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The last decade of the world trade has been marked by an unprecedented collapse, quick recovery, slowdown, another drop, and recovery. To study cyclical and structural aspects of the recent trend of trade, I use both aggregate and disaggregated trade statistics of a small open economy, South Korea, whose economic success and growth have been heavily dependent on exports. The aggregate trend of the country is surprisingly similar to that of the world, which is why the trend of Korea's export is called a proxy for the world. I show that while the last drop of trade after 2015 has cyclical aspects, there is evidence that the continued slowdown from 2012 is structural: (1) the so-called `China factor' is found in the analysis of trade-income elasticity of the world and China for imports from Korea. (2) The bilateral trade barriers between Korea and its important trading partners are universally tightening. I also show that the firm sizes, destination countries, and the mode of transactions affect disaggregated trade flows during the slowdown periods. It is advisable to diversify main export products to lower the effect of oil prices on export prices and to strengthen the cooperation with ASEAN countries, whose trade barriers have exceptionally diminished throughout the last decade.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Kim Sujin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Even at near-zero interest rates for a prolonged period since the financial crisis, why has business investment in advanced economies remained persistently below its pre-crisis level? This paper investigates empirically the roots of this investment puzzle from the global megatrend perspective. The empirical model of this study augmented the uncertainty-finance accelerator investment model with megatrend variables of a transition to service industry, ageing population and a rise in income inequality. The main estimation results show that they have affected negatively the business investment over the period 1980-2014. The shift-to-service driven investment fall is the price-dominant effect during the transition, which is not necessarily pessimistic news, while the suppressing effects from ageing and a rise in income inequality require adequate policy reactions. In addition, the analysis finds significant negative spillover effects of trade partners' ageing and income inequality on a country's own private investment. Based on the empirical results, I expect that the G20’s efforts in inclusiveness with structural reforms will stimulate global business investment.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Saori N. Katada
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In 2015, two mega-initiatives took shape that will affect economic relations in the Asia-Pacific region: the US-promoted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Although they address different needs, both are expected to have profound effects on Asia's economic governance in the near future, and will shape economic norms in the Asia Pacific and beyond. Japan has joined the TPP but stayed out of the AIIB, decisions that might seem counterintuitive considering its history of resisting trade liberalization and of promoting infrastructure investment. Is Japan simply favoring its US ally over rival China? Or is it that Japan's position on the TPP and AIIB aligns with its own economic priorities, and enhances its geo-economic advantage? With a US-China competition over economic ideas and regional strategies, Japan occupies a unique position that may allow it to influence the direction of Asia-Pacific economic governance, which is now being battled out by the two "titans."
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Kim Young Gui
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: There have been voluminous contributions such as Daudin et al. (2011), Johnson and Noguera (2012), Koopmans et al. (2010), and Trefler and Zhu (2010) in measuring value added trade based on input-output tables as generalizations of the vertical specialization measures following Hummels et al. (2001). These studies focused on trade in intermediate goods as a key feature of recent global trade. In the case of Korea, about 50% of total exports and 70% of its total imports are intermediate goods trade. This paper contributes to the discussion about the trade in intermediate goods and productivity by revisiting Basu (1995), Jones (2011), and Lee and Pyo (2007) to examine implications of trade in intermediate goods for macroeconomic business cycles and productivity and welfare at the current stage of Korean development. The major revision of the Basu (1995) model is attempted by decomposing intermediate goods into domestically produced intermediate inputs and imported intermediate inputs to investigate implications of the model in a small open economy. The major finding is that the procyclicality of the intermediate goods usage relative to labor usage and TFP changes in both value added and gross-output regressions are significantly weaker in a small open economy like Korea than the large economy of the United States. We also investigate the effects of misallocation and multiplier effects due to intermediate goods on industrial productivity and efficiency following the model of Jones (2011). Since the effects of misallocation can be intensified through the industrial input-output structure of the economy, we calculate the intermediate goods multiplier by Korea's 29 manufacturing industries. We find technical changes and the degree of inefficiency are related with the magnitude of multipliers, but we leave a fundamental identification problem to future research
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Geetima Das Krishna, Ankit Bhardwaj
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: After three decades of double-digit growth, China is slowing as it is rebalancing its economy from export-driven to less-volatile domestic consumption driven economy. The paper looks at the impact of China slowdown on India through different channels. Even though India is usurping China as the fastest growing major economy in the world, Indian economy being a fifth of the Chinese economy and also less material intensive can hardly substitute for China as a global growth driver. China has emerged as the largest trading partner of India but India’s trade still remains less vulnerable to Chinese slowdown directly as India’s services exports account for as much as 50% of India’s overall exports (merchandise and services). On the other hand, China’s total FDI investment in India has been miniscule $1.2 billion till September 2015 and India’s infrastructure sector, with its massive investment needs, can be the natural destination for Chinese investments. India reaped the indirect benefit of lower commodity prices in terms of narrower CAD, softening inflation, lower interest rate, increased government fiscal bonanza, all of which contributed to greater macro-stability in India. It was also found that a 50bps decline in China’s growth rate is likely to lower India’s growth by 30bp in the short run.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Economic growth, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia