When Time Matters: Eastern Europe's Response to Chinese Competition

Andrea Ciani, Karsten Mau

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper

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This paper presents evidence in support of a novel source of comparative advantage that arises from geographic proximity between trading partners and differential importance of timely delivery across industries (i.e. time-sensitivity). To test this channel, we investigate adjustments to Chinese export competition by a group of Eastern and Southeastern European (ESE) countries within EU15 destination-product markets. We rely on instrumental variables to extract exogenous variation in the expansion of Chinese export supply capacity across products and destinations. While finding sizable displacements effects materializing in terms of both export revenues and quantities, they appear to be about 50 percent smaller for time-sensitive exports. We further show that distance between trade partners determines this differential effect. Results based on firm-level customs data for a single ESE country support these findings. Overall, we observe that geographic proximity can shield firms from external competition in specific industries.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMaastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

Publication series

SeriesGSBE Research Memoranda

JEL classifications

  • f14 - Empirical Studies of Trade
  • f15 - Economic Integration
  • f61 - Globalization: Microeconomic Impacts
  • l25 - Firm Performance: Size, Diversification, and Scope


  • international competition
  • geographic proximity
  • time sensitivity
  • China
  • European Integration
  • Regional production networks

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