I examine the effect of reducing export tariffs on the productivity of domestic suppliers of exporting firms. Using a panel of Chilean firms during a period of trade liberalization with the European Union, the United States, and the Republic of Korea, I show that the average reduction in the export tariff of downstream industries (1.1 percentage points) increases the productivity of intermediate input suppliers by 1.5 percent.
The increase in productivity among domestic suppliers accounts for 22.5 percent of aggregate productivity gains. I find that tariff cuts induce firms to acquire new machinery and pay higher wages to skilled workers. These findings are consistent with a simple model in which lower export tariffs increase the sales of exporting firms and increase the derived demand for intermediates through input-output linkages.
Forthcoming in: Journal of Development Economics