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Geography and Firm Exports: New Evidence on the Nature of Sunk Costs

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  • Lawless, Martina

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)

Abstract

This paper presents an extension of the analysis of the geographic dimension of trade, by examining the trading patterns of individual firms. Aggregate data does not tell us if a sector is geographically diversified because there are many exporting firms, each of which specialises in a separate destination, or if the firms themselves are selling their exports in many markets. This analysis is made possible by access to a new survey dataset of Irish firms, which includes detailed information on firm characteristics and on the destinations of their exports over a two-year period. In line with Eaton, Kortum and Kramarz (2004), we find that a large number of firms serve only the domestic market and many exporting firms export to a single foreign market. Although there is little movement of firms into and out of exporting, firms’ involvement in individual export markets is much more dynamic. Over thirty percent of firms change their market coverage, usually by entering or exiting one additional market. This is interpreted as evidence that the bulk of any sunk cost encountered in exporting in incurred during the initial entry to the export market. Subsequent entry to additional markets is made easier by prior export experience, which reduces the sunk cost of extending market coverage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Central Bank of Ireland in its series Research Technical Papers with number 1/RT/06.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:1/rt/06

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  1. The International Study Group on Exports and Productivity & Mauro Pisu, 2008. "Exports and productivity – comparable evidence for 14 countries," Working Paper Research 128, National Bank of Belgium.
  2. Joachim Wagner, 2005. "Exports and Productivity: A Survey of the Evidence fro Firm Level Data," International Trade 0504005, EconWPA.
  3. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  4. Jacques Melitz, 2005. "North, South and Distance in the Gravity Model," Working Papers 2005-11, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  5. Dixit, A., 1988. "Entry And Exit Decisions Under Uncertainty," Papers 91, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  6. Werner Holzl, 2005. "Tangible and intangible sunk costs and the entry and exit of firms in a small open economy: the case of Austria," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(21), pages 2429-2443.
  7. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  8. Anne Marie Gleeson & Frances Ruane, 2006. "Export dynamics in Small Open Economies: Indigenous Irish Manufacturing Exports, 1985-2003," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp140, IIIS.
  9. Davies, Stephen & Lyons, Bruce, 1996. "Industrial Organization in the European Union: Structure, Strategy, and the Competitive Mechanism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289739.
  10. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  11. Frances Ruane & Julie Sutherland, 2005. "Ownership and Export Characteristics of Irish Manufacturing Performance," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp032, IIIS.
  12. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 2001. "Export entry and exit by German firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 105-123, March.
  13. Aitken, Brian & Hanson, Gordon H. & Harrison, Ann E., 1997. "Spillovers, foreign investment, and export behavior," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 103-132, August.
  14. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2004. "Why Some Firms Export," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 561-569, May.
  15. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Gábor Békés & Balázs Muraközy, 2011. "Temporary trade and heterogeneous firms," CeFiG Working Papers 6, Center for Firms in the Global Economy, revised 13 Feb 2011.
  2. Alejandro Riaño, 2011. "Exports, investment and firm-level sales volatility," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 147(4), pages 643-663, November.
  3. Jan Jørgensen & Philipp Schröder & Zhihao Yu, 2012. "Globalization beyond partitioning: back to Krugman’s world," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 73-87, April.

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