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Where do Firms Export, How Much and Why?

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Author Info

  • Lawless, Martina

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)

  • Whelan, Karl

    (University College Dublin)

Abstract

The empirical finding that exporting firms are more productive on average than non-exporters has provoked a large theoretical literature based on models such as Melitz (2003), where more productive firms are more likely to overcome costs associated with trade. This paper provides a systematic empirical assessment of the Melitz framework using a unique Irish dataset that includes information on destinations and firm characteristics such as productivity. We find a number of interesting deviations from the model's predictions including a high degree of unpredictable idiosyncratic participation in export markets by firms, a relatively weak positive correlation between the extent of export participation and export sales, and a limited role for productivity in explaining firm exporting behavior. We illustrate the effect of firm heterogeneity on gravity regressions of aggregate trade flows and show how past exporting to a particular market has a strong impact on the current probability of exporting there.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Central Bank of Ireland in its series Research Technical Papers with number 6/RT/08.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:6/rt/08

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  1. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 150-154, May.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 802, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Eaton, Jonathan & Eslava, Marcela & Kugler, Maurice & Tybout, James, 2007. "Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence," Working Paper Series rwp07-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Bernard, Andrew & Jensen, J Bradford & Redding, Stephen J & Schott, Peter, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Lawless, Martina, 2009. "Firm export dynamics and the geography of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 245-254, April.
  8. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
  9. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  10. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Nguyen, Daniel X., 2012. "Demand uncertainty: Exporting delays and exporting failures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-344.
  2. Martina Lawless, 2013. "Marginal Distance: Does Export Experience Reduce Firm Trade Costs?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 819-841, November.
  3. Emami Namini, Julian & Facchini, Giovanni & Lopez, Ricardo, 2011. "Export growth and factor market competition: theory and evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 8256, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Cole, Matthew T. & Davies, Ronald B., 2011. "Strategic tariffs, tariff jumping, and heterogeneous firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 480-496, May.
  5. Peter McQuade, 2009. "The Evolution of International Trade on the Extensive and Intensive Margins," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp325, IIIS, revised Apr 2010.
  6. Philipp J.H. Schröder & Allan Sørensen, 2010. "The Theoretical Equivalent of Empirically Measurable Exporter Productivity when Firms are Heterogeneous," Economics Working Papers 2010-06, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  7. Daniel X. Nguyen, 2010. "Demand Uncertainty: Exporting Delays and Exporting Failures," Discussion Papers 10-17, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  8. Daniela Federici & Valentino Parisi, 2012. "Corporate Taxation and Exports," Working Papers 2012-01, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
  9. shepherd, Ben, 2010. "Geographical Diversification of Developing Country Exports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1217-1228, September.
  10. Matthew Cole, 2011. "Not all trade restrictions are created equally," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 411-427, September.
  11. Matthew T Cole, 2009. "The Choice of Modeling Firm Heterogeneity and Trade Restrictions," Working Papers 200920, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  12. 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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