Recent studies have found that China is “special” in exporting highly sophisticated goods not comparable with its income level. In this paper we identify two measurement biases that account for this “China is special” observation. First, product quality has not been fully considered in the measurement of sophistication, which has caused an overestimation of the sophistication of China's exports. Second, the average income of China has been used to measure the export capability of China, which has caused an underestimation of China's capability of exporting sophisticated goods. After correcting the two measurement biases, China appears much less as an outlier in the cross-country comparison of the sophistication of exports.
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- Export structure
- Product quality