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学者观点 | 陈宇峰,张顺,缪嘉峰 中美贸易战对创新的负面影响:来自中国ICT行业的证据
发布日期:2023-11-26 阅读:

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论文题目:

The negative effects of the US-China trade war on innovation: Evidence from the Chinese ICT industry.

中美贸易战对创新的负面影响:来自中国ICT行业的证据。

作者:陈宇峰,张顺,缪嘉峰

期刊名称:TECHNOVATION

发表时间:2023-3-31

 

Abstract

Many countries, including China, have gradually realized the importance of leading innovation capabilities in the world market. The innovation capabilities of the information and communication technology (ICT) industry have received widespread attention as an important means to stimulate a productivity revolution in the new era and its innovative development. This paper adopts a differences-in-differences method and treats the US-China trade war as a quasi-natural experiment to empirically analyze its impact on technological innovation in the Chinese ICT industry. The results find that the US-China trade war has a significant negative impact on ICT firms’ technological innovation, mainly by increasing their operating costs, and that the negative impact of the trade war is much greater than the positive impact from the reverse incentive effect. Moreover, the decline in technological innovation of ICT firms is mainly due to the reduction in innovation efficiency caused by the decrease in the number of patent applications for inventions with the highest technological content, rather than the change in R&D investment. In the US-China trade war, firms with low financing constraints and non-state enterprises are more significantly affected. Thus, it can be seen that the intention of the US-China trade war to inhibit the development of Chinese high-technology firms has been achieved to a certain extent, which requires new countermeasures from the Chinese government.

越来越多的国家逐渐意识到领先的创新能力在世界市场竞争中的重要性,其中,信息与通信技术(ICT)行业的创新能力,作为刺激新时代生产力革命及其科技水平发展的重要手段受到了各国政府的广泛关注。本文将中美贸易战作为准自然实验,采用双重差分法,实证分析其对中国ICT行业技术创新的影响。结果发现,中美贸易战对ICT企业的技术创新产生了显著的负向影响,主要表现为增加企业的运营成本,且贸易战的负面影响远大于反向激励效应带来的正面影响。此外,ICT企业技术创新水平的下降主要是由于技术含量最高的发明专利申请量减少所导致创新效率的降低,并非研发投入的变化。在中美贸易战中,低融资约束企业和民营企业受到的影响更为显著。由此可见,中美贸易战抑制中国高科技企业发展的意图已经在一定程度上实现,这需要中国政府采取相应的对策以降低影响。

 

Introduction

The global political and economic structures have undergone dramatic changes with globalization becoming more pervasive in the past two decades (Munir and Ameer, 2018), but there is also a growing trend toward de-globalization. In 2019, the New Crown Pneumonia pandemic caused a general decline in economic activity in countries around the world and increased uncertainty about income, employment, and food security, with dire implications for international trade (Barlow et al., 2021; Krammer, 2022). In addition, political factors have played an important role in inducing the trend of de-globalization, in which the end of American hegemony and the rise of China as a geo-strategic competitor have weakened the trend of globalization (Witt, 2019). The clash of interests between China and the United States gradually evolved into the US-China trade war in 2018, whose inherent broad, strategic, and long-term character has far-reaching implications for the global economy. These factors worsen the trade environment among countries and aggravate the uncertainty of trade policies among countries. The trade war between the world’s largest developed country and the largest developing country is a topic worthy of our attention, which helps us grasp the uncertain trade situation.

In US-China trade, China’s exports are no longer dominated by primary products, but have gradually formed an export structure dominated by processing trade, and the proportion of manufacturing exports and the technological content of products are also gradually expanding. This also explains the main reason why the U.S. government has chosen to impose tariffs on high-end manufacturing industries in order to reduce the trade deficit. The intention of initiating a trade war is not only to reduce the long-term U.S. disadvantage in US-China trade, but also to curb the development of China’s high-tech sector (Fatma and Bharti, 2019). The main reason for choosing the ICT industry, an important component of high-end manufacturing, as the research object in this paper is that, on the one hand, in the new era, ICT technology is closely related to the digital economy and has rapidly become an important driver of world economic growth, playing a huge role in national industrial upgrading and enterprise development (Appiah and Song, 2021; Li et al., 2022). Additionally, the Chinese government is gradually realizing the pulling role of the ICT industry for the modern economy and has formulated many industrial policies to promote the development of ICT industry, such as Made in China 2025 and Information and Communication Industry Development Plan (2016–2020). On the other hand, in the US-China trade war, the ICT industry is representative among the sanctioned industries, not only because of the high-tech content attributes of the industry itself, but also because of the severe sanctions imposed by the US government, and the whole industry is facing serious challenges in terms of talent, technology, investment, and supply chain.

在过去的二十年里,随着全球化程度的不断加深,世界政治和经济结构发生了巨大的变化(Munir and Ameer, 2018),但去全球化趋势同样愈演愈烈。2019年,新冠肺炎疫情导致世界各国经济活动普遍降温,增加了收入、就业和粮食安全方面的不确定性,对国际贸易环境产生了剧烈的冲击(Barlow et al., 2021; Krammer, 2022)。此外,政治因素在引致去全球化的趋势中起到了重要影响,其中美国霸权的终结和中国作为其地缘战略竞争对手的崛起削弱了全球化趋势(Witt, 2019)。中美之间的利益冲突逐渐演变为2018年的中美贸易战,该贸易战所固有的广泛性、战略性和长期性的特征对全球经济产生了深远影响。这些因素恶化了国家间的贸易环境,加剧了国家间贸易政策的不确定性。

在中美贸易中,随着中国经济结构的不断优化,中国的出口产品不再以初级产品为主,而是逐渐形成了以加工贸易为主的出口结构,制造业出口比重和产品技术含量也在逐步提高,这也解释了美国政府为减少贸易逆差而选择对高端制造业加征关税的主要原因。美国发起贸易战的意图不仅是为了减少其在中美贸易中的长期劣势,也是为了遏制中国高科技行业的发展(Fatma and Bharti, 2019)。本文选择高端制造业中的信息与通信技术(ICT)行业作为研究对象,主要原因在于,一方面,ICT技术与数字经济密切相关,并在短期内迅速成为世界经济增长的重要驱动力,对国家产业升级和企业发展中发挥着巨大的推动作用(Appiah and Na, 2021; Li et al., 2022)。此外,中国政府也逐渐意识到ICT行业对现代经济的拉动作用,制定了《信息通信行业发展规划(2016-2020)》等多项产业政策促进该产业的发展。另一方面,在中美贸易战中,ICT行业在被制裁行业中具有代表性,不仅因为行业本身的高科技含量属性,而且由于美国政府的严厉制裁,整个行业在人才、技术、投资、供应链等方面都面临着严峻的挑战。

 

Contribution

Our findings contribute to existing research as follows: first, in previous studies such as trade frictions and technical barriers, scholars have given different effects of trade conflicts on technological innovation and have not reached a unified conclusion. In this paper, we choose the largest trade friction between China and the United States as the research object, which enriches the body of literature on the impact of the trade war on technological innovation. Second, we consider the US-China trade war as a quasi-natural experiment and try to study its impact on innovation through a double-difference model. However, the approach requires a suitable set of control and control groups to be selected in the context of the US-China trade war. In terms of direct impact, firms in the list of tariff increases reduce their export competitiveness due to the increase in tariffs, and the decrease in exports has an impact on their business activities. In terms of indirect effects, investors believe that the trade war between the US and China will worsen the economic situation in China, which in turn generates pessimism and leads to the impact on the industries on the non-trade list. In the later stages of the trade war, all industries in China are under the influence of the trade war. It creates great difficulties for the research of this paper. In this regard, this paper constructs indicators for ICT firms to be affected by the trade war to divide the treatment and control groups in the double-difference model, and the method can provide a reference for related studies. Third, this paper’s research contributed to enriching the literature on using patent data to measure innovation and considered the nature of patent data by estimating the model using the ordinary least squares method and the negative binomial regression, respectively, to avoid errors in the estimation results due to count-based data. Finally, we analyze the path of the impact of the US-China trade war on technological innovation through two coping strategies, conservative and aggressive, which assume negative and positive effects of the trade war on innovation, respectively, instead of considering only the single impact of the trade war. This facilitates our further understanding of the impact of trade wars and the pathways of action.

1)在以往的贸易摩擦和技术壁垒等研究中,学者们对贸易冲突对技术创新的影响给出了不同的结论,尚未达成统一的认识。本文选择中美之间最大的贸易摩擦作为研究对象,丰富了贸易战对技术创新影响的文献主体。

2)将中美贸易战视为一场准自然实验,并采用双重差分模型研究其对创新的影响,而这种方法需要在中美贸易战的背景下选择出一套合适的实验组和对照组。在直接影响方面,列于制裁清单中的企业由于关税的增加而降低了其出口竞争力,进而抑制了生产经营活动,该影响将通过产业链向上下游企业传导并进一步放大。在间接影响方面,投资者认为中美贸易战将使中国经济形势恶化,从而产生悲观情绪,抑制对非贸易清单中行业的投资行为。在贸易战的后期,中国的大多数行业都不可避免遭受着贸易战的影响,这种情况给本文模型中实验组和对照组的选取带来了较大的困难。对此,本文构建了受贸易战影响的ICT企业指标,进而划分出实验组和对照组,该方法可为相关研究提供参考。

3)本文的研究丰富了使用专利数据衡量创新的文献,并考虑了专利数据的特征,分别使用普通最小二乘法和负二项回归法对模型进行估计,避免了计数数据对估计结果造成的不利误差。最后,本文不仅只考虑贸易战的单一影响,而且进一步研究保守和积极两种应对策略,分析中美贸易战对技术创新的影响路径,这有助于进一步揭示贸易战的影响和行动途径。

 

Conclusion

This paper finds that the US-China trade war has a dampening effect on technological innovation in the Chinese ICT industry, and this finding has passed the robustness test. Specifically, as follows: among the three types of patents, the US-China trade war only significantly reduces the number of invention patent applications for ICT firms, and has no effect on utility model patents and design patents, which leads to a shift in the innovation structure of the ICT industry toward low-quality innovation. This inhibition of high quality innovation can have a huge impact on the development of innovation in the Chinese ICT industry.

In addition, the negative impact of trade war on enterprises with low financing constraints and private enterprises in ICT industry is more significant. The ability to finance well is an important foundation for firms to sustain long-term innovation, and private firms are the mainstay of innovation in the industry. The notable impact of the US-China trade war on these two types of firms undoubtedly further validates its substantial impact on the innovation capacity of the ICT industry.

At last, in terms of the impact mechanism, we find that the US-China trade war reduces innovation capacity mainly by raising the operating costs of ICT firms, and this negative impact is much greater than the positive impact of the trade war in raising the confidence of ICT firms. Considering that there is no reduction in the R&D investment of enterprises, this paper infers that the decline in the level of technological innovation of ICT enterprises is more likely to be due to the decline in innovation efficiency or the squeeze of patented innovation by product innovation. In summary, the US government’s intention to inhibit the development of China’s high-tech sector by launching a trade war has been realized to a certain extent, which requires the Chinese government to develop targeted measures to reduce the impact of this trade war.

Under the influence of the US-China trade war, the Chinese government should formulate favorable industrial policies and provide measures such as financial subsidies for ICT firms to stabilize their technological innovation process. Policymakers should also develop flexible, targeted and dynamic policies for enterprises with different levels of ownership and financing constraints. In addition, programs such as the establishment of innovation funds, talent introduction, and joint R&D between schools and enterprises may significantly contribute to improving technological innovation in the ICT industry. On the other hand, ICT firms should improve the enthusiasm of independent R&D, increase the investment in core patents so as to improve their innovation capability and reduce the dependence on foreign technologies. At the same time, these enterprises should also broaden the international market, strengthen technical communication and exchange with enterprises in other countries, and realize the diversified development of enterprise trade relations.

本文研究发现中美贸易战对中国ICT行业的技术创新存在抑制效应,并且这一发现通过了多种稳健性检验。具体而言,中美贸易战对ICT行业的影响属于精准打击,显著地减少了ICT企业的发明专利申请量,从而导致ICT行业创新结构向低质量创新转移。

此外,中美贸易战对ICT行业中的低融资约束企业和民营企业的负面影响更为显著。良好的融资能力是企业保持长期创新的重要基础,而民营企业是行业创新的中流砥柱。中美贸易战对这两类企业显著的消极影响无疑进一步验证了其对ICT行业创新能力的实质性影响。

最后,在影响机制上,本文发现中美贸易战主要通过提高ICT企业的运营成本来降低创新能力,并且这种负面影响远大于贸易战提高ICT企业信心的正面影响。考虑到企业的研发投入并没有减少,本文推断ICT企业技术创新水平的下降更有可能是由于创新效率的下降或专利创新受到产品创新的挤压。综上所述,美国政府通过发动贸易战来抑制中国高科技产业发展的意图已在一定程度上实现,这就需要中国政府制定针对性措施来降低这场贸易战的影响。

在中美贸易战的影响下,中国政府应该制定稳健而有力的产业政策,为ICT企业提供人才培养、财政支持等措施,稳定其技术创新活动的开展。决策者还应针对不同所有制水平和融资约束的企业制定灵活、有针对性和动态的政策。另一方面,ICT企业应提高自主研发的积极性,加大对核心专利的投入,以提高企业的创新能力,降低对国外技术的依赖。同时,这些企业还应拓宽国际市场,加强与其他国家企业的技术沟通与交流,实现企业贸易关系的多元化发展。

 

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