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Exports, borders, distance, and plant size

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  • Holmes, Thomas J.
  • Stevens, John J.

Abstract

The fact that large manufacturing plants export relatively more than small plants has been at the foundation of much work in the international trade literature. We examine this fact using Census microdata on plant shipments from the Commodity Flow Survey. We show that the fact is not entirely an international trade phenomenon; part of it can be accounted for by the effect of distance, distinct from any border effect. Export destinations tend to be farther than domestic destinations, and large plants tend to ship farther distances even to domestic locations compared with small plants. We develop an extension of the Melitz (2003) model and use it to set up an analysis with model interpretations of ratios between large plant and small plant shipments that can be calculated with the data. We obtain a decomposition of the overall ratio into a term that varies with distance, holding fixed the border, and a term that varies with the border, holding fixed the distance. The distance term accounts for more than half of the overall difference.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 91-103

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:88:y:2012:i:1:p:91-103

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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Keywords: Border effect; Plant size; International trade; Commodity Flow Survey;

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References

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  1. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
  2. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  5. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, July.
  6. Engel, C. & Rogers, J.H., 1995. "How Wide is the Border?," Papers 4-95-16, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  7. Andrew Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Working Papers 07-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  9. Russell Hillberry & David Hummels, 2002. "Intra-national Home Bias: Some Explanations," NBER Working Papers 9022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  11. John F. Helliwell, 1995. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," NBER Working Papers 5215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
  13. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
  14. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2005. "Importers, Exporters, and Multinationals: A Portrait of Firms in the U.S. that Trade Goods," Working Paper Series WP05-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  15. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2002. "Geographic Concentration and Establishment Scale," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 682-690, November.
  16. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  17. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "An Alternative Theory of the Plant Size Distribution with an Application to Trade," NBER Working Papers 15957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Large plants and distance to customers
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-09-10 14:07:00
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Cited by:
  1. A. Kerem Cosar & Paul L. E. Grieco & Felix Tintelnot, 2012. "Borders, Geography, and Oligopoly: Evidence from the Wind Turbine Industry," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1228, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  2. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Klenow, Peter J., 2012. "The Life Cycle of Plants in India and Mexico," Working Papers 12-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Nobuaki Yamashita & Toshiyuki Matsuura & Kentaro Nakajima, 2013. "Agglomeration effects of inter-firm backward and forward linkages: evidence from Japanese manufacturing investment in China," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2012-042, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.
  4. Evgeny Zhelobodko & Sergey Kokovin & Mathieu Parenti & Jacques‐François Thisse, 2012. "Monopolistic Competition: Beyond the Constant Elasticity of Substitution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2765-2784, November.
  5. Behrens, Kristian & Mion, Giordano & Murata, Yasusada & Südekum, Jens, 2011. "Spatial frictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Asier Minondo, . "Exporters of services in Spain," Working Papers 2011R04, Basque Institute of Competitiveness.
  7. Minondo, Asier, 2012. "Trading firms in the Spanish services sector," MPRA Paper 43224, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00566431 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Dutz, Mark A., 2013. "Resource reallocation and innovation : converting enterprise risks into opportunities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6534, The World Bank.

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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