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Exports, Borders, Distance, and Plant Size

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  • Thomas J. Holmes
  • John J. Stevens

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 micro data on plant shipments from the Commodity Flow Survey. We show 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 further than domestic destinations, and large plants tend to ship further distances even to domestic locations, as 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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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2010/CES-WP-10-13.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 10-13.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-13

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References

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  1. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 507-22, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "An alternative theory of the plant size distribution with an application to trade," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Russell Hillberry & David Hummels, 2002. "Intra-national Home Bias: Some Explanations," NBER Working Papers 9022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Baldwin, Richard & Harrigan, James, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1995. "How wide is the border?," Research Working Paper 95-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 14214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-80, January.
  17. 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, October.
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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. Dutz, Mark A., 2013. "Resource reallocation and innovation : converting enterprise risks into opportunities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6534, The World Bank.
  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. Behrens, Kristian & Mion, Giordano & Murata, Yasusada & Südekum, Jens, 2011. "Spatial frictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Asier Minondo, . "Exporters of services in Spain," Working Papers 2011R04, Basque Institute of Competitiveness.
  6. 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.
  7. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00566431 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Minondo, Asier, 2012. "Trading firms in the Spanish services sector," MPRA Paper 43224, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. 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.

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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