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China's Dual Export Sector

Riano, Alejandro; Defever, Fabrice


Alejandro Riano

Fabrice Defever


Ben Zissimos


China has transitioned from being an almost autarkic economy to become the world's largest exporter in less than three decades. Given this unique transformation, this paper investigates if the key stylized facts that characterize the behavior of firms' exports around the world, can also describe China's experience after joining the World Trade Organization. We find that, consistent with received wisdom, relatively few Chinese firms engage in exporting, and those doing so,
are on average, larger and more productive than their domestic counterparts. However, unlike other large and developed countries, a substantial share of Chinese exporters sell the majority of their output abroad. In fact, the distribution of Chinese exporters according to their export intensity |the share of their revenues accounted for by exports is strikingly bimodal. In contrast
to recent work that has focused on the technological factors that explain the prevalence of high-intensity exporters, we instead concentrate on the role played by China's heterodox trade
policy regime in promoting pure exporters. Our empirical analysis suggests that trade policy has played an instrumental role in fostering a dual export sector. Notably, nine out of ten manufacturing
exporters in China are eligible to enjoy fiscal incentives contingent on export performance.


Riano, A., & Defever, F. (2019). China's Dual Export Sector. In WTO and Economic Development. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press)

Acceptance Date Dec 3, 2018
Publication Date Dec 17, 2019
Deposit Date Dec 7, 2018
Publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press)
Book Title WTO and Economic Development
ISBN 9780262043106
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