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Entrepreneurship in International Trade


Author Info

  • Rauch, J E
  • Watson, Joel


Motivated by evidence on the importance of incomplete information and networks in international trade, we investigate the supply of "network intermediation." We hypothesize that the agents who become international trade intermediaries first accumulate networks of foreign contacts while working as employees in production or sales, then become entrepreneurs who sell access to and use of the networks they accumulated. We report supportive results regarding this hypothesis from a pilot survey of international trade intermediaries. We then build a simple general-equilibrium model of this type of entrepreneurship, and use it for comparative statics and welfare analysis. One welfare conclusion is that intermediaries may have inadequate incentives to maintain or expand their networks, suggesting a rationale for the policies followed by some countries to encourage large-scale trading companies that imitate the Japanese sogo shosha.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt1qx2x540.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt1qx2x540

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Keywords: international trade; network intermediation;

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Cited by:
  1. T. Huw Edwards, 2006. "Search and the Path-Dependency of Trade," Discussion Paper Series 2006_12, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised May 2006.
  2. Ricardo Hausmann & Dani Rodrik, 2002. "Economic Development as Self-Discovery," NBER Working Papers 8952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Feenstra Robert C & Hanson Gordon H. & Lin Songhua, 2004. "The Value of Information in International Trade: Gains to Outsourcing through Hong Kong," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-37, August.
  4. Reis, José Guilherme & Varela, Gonzalo, 2013. "Can Tourism Encourage Better Export Performance and Diversification in Nepal?," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 127, pages 1-6, October.
  5. Reis, Jose Guilherme & Varela, Gonzalo, 2013. "Travel channel meets discovery channel or how tourism can encourage better export performance and diversification in Nepal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6669, The World Bank.


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