Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Economics, Stockholm University Research Papers in Economics, Department of Economics, Stockholm University

No 2010:16:
Technology Upgrading, Exporting and Heterogeneous Firms

Shon Ferguson ()

Abstract: Empirical evidence shows that R&D spending is highly correlated with firm productivity, highly concentrated among large firms, and responsive to trade liberalization. This paper develops a model of product upgrading with heterogeneous firms that captures these characteristics by allowing firms to choose their optimal level of fixed cost spending from a continuum. The endogenous component of fixed costs is assumed to represent R&D or product development that is spent once but reaps demand benefits over all the markets the firm serves. This mechanism encourages firms to export and capture economies of scale in fixed cost spending. The model makes two new predictions. The first prediction is that exporters upgrade while domestic firms cut costs when trade liberalizes. The second prediction is that the selection effect of trade liberalization is weaker in industries characterized by intense upgrading competition between firms.

Keywords: International Trade; Upgrading; Trade Liberalization; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: F10; F12; O30; O31; (follow links to similar papers)

30 pages, October 26, 2010

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