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Sunk Costs of Exports

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  • Matteo Bugamelli

    ()
    (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)

  • Luigi Infante

    ()
    (Bank of Italy, Milan)

Abstract

Using a very large panel dataset of Italian manufacturing firms, we test an empirical model of foreign markets participation with sunk costs. The period of analysis (1982-1999) is exceptionally informative: the large fluctuations in the lira exchange rate determined substantial flows of firms in and out of foreign markets. We find that sunk costs of exporting are very important: past experience in foreign markets increases the probability of exporting by about 70 percentage points. Although the assets entailing such costs depreciate quite slowly, new exporters have to acquire them very soon after entry. Altogether, these results suggest that the break in the Italian aggregate export supply function caused by the depreciation of the 1990s can be considerable and long-lasting. We then relate sunk costs to firm size and find that they are an important barrier to export, especially for the myriad of Italian small and medium firms. Finally, we provide some new evidence that sunk costs are indeed related to the need to collect information on foreign market/country characteristics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 469.

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Date of creation: Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_469_03

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Keywords: exports; sunk costs; firm size; information; binary choice models;

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References

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  1. Richard Baldwin & Paul R. Krugman, 1986. "Persistent Trade Effects of Large Exchage Rate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 2017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-38, June.
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  11. Luigi Guiso & Fabiano Schivardi, 2000. "Information Spillovers and Factor Adjustment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 368, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  12. Filippo Altissimo & Eugenio Gaiotti & Alberto Locarno, 2004. "Is money informative? Evidence from a large model used for policy analysis," Macroeconomics 0404018, EconWPA, revised 24 Apr 2004.
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  17. Baldwin, Richard, 1988. "Hyteresis in Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 773-85, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Matteo Bugamelli & Luigi Cannari & Francesca Lotti & Silvia Magri, 2012. "The innovation gap of Italy’s production system: roots and possible solutions," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 121, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Marco Grazzi, 2009. "Trade and Profitability: Is there an export premium? Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2009/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  3. Jørgensen, Jan G. & Schröder, Philipp J.H., 2008. "Fixed export cost heterogeneity, trade and welfare," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1256-1274, October.
  4. Schilirò, Daniele, 2011. "Innovation and performance of Italian multinational enterprises of the “fourth capitalism”," MPRA Paper 34916, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2007. "Self Selection and Post-Entry effects of Exports. Evidence from Italian Manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2007/20, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  6. Gullstrand, Joakim, 2011. "Firm and destination-specific export costs: The case of the Swedish food sector," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 204-213, April.
  7. Valter Di Giacinto & Matteo Gomellini & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2012. "Mapping local productivity advantages in Italy: industrial districts, cities or both?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 850, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. Voicu, Alexandru, 2008. "Adding Rungs to the Exporting Ladder: Plant-Level Exporting Dynamics and Total Factor Productivity Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 3807, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Kelejian, Harry & Tavlas, George S. & Petroulas, Pavlos, 2012. "In the neighborhood: The trade effects of the Euro in a spatial framework," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 314-322.
  10. Daniele Schilirò, 2011. "Performance e Profili delle Imprese Multinazionali del Quarto Capitalismo," CRANEC - Working Papers del Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale crn1104, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale (CRANEC).
  11. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller & Xufei Zhang, . "Exchange Rates, Exports and FDI: A Microeconometric Analysis," Discussion Papers 08/09, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  12. Alexandru Voicu, 2008. "Adding Rungs to the Exporting Ladder: Plant-Level Exporting Dynamics and Total Factor Productivity Growth," DEGIT Conference Papers c013_013, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  13. Ansgar Belke & Daniel Gros, 2003. "The Cost of Financial Market Variability in the Southern Cone," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(5), pages 1091-1115.
  14. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Matteo Bugamelli & Riccardo Cristadoro & Daniela Maggioni, 2012. "Are firms exporting to China and India different from other exporters?," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 112, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  15. Imbriani, Cesare & Morone, Piergiuseppe & Testa, Giuseppina, 2008. "Exporting quality: is it the right strategy for the Italian manufacturing sector?," MPRA Paper 13327, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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