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A Simple Theory of Trade, Finance, and Firm Dynamics

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  • Gabriel J. Felbermayr
  • Gilbert Spiegel

Abstract

We propose a stylized monopolistic competition model of international trade where firms differ with respect to the expected economic lifetime of their innovations. Upon entry, they receive a commonly observed signal which is updated over time. Jointly with partial irreversibility of investment, this generates heterogeneity in effective discount rates and, thus, in the cost of finance. In line with evidence, the model predicts a negative correlation between firms’ financing costs and their age. Over a firm’s life-cycle, per period net profits and the export participation probability grow. Exporters are less likely to exit than purely domestic firms. Belief updating entails excessive financing of incumbents relative to entrants and too much exporting. Asymptotically, trade liberalization reduces overall general equilibrium exit rates, but it does not necessarily increase welfare. With multiple asymmetric export markets, firms gradually expand their market coverage and total sales. A confidence crisis modeled by belief reversion causes an over-proportional decrease in exports, thereby offering a novel interpretation of the recent trade slump.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3873.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3873

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Keywords: international trade; monopolistic competition; heterogeneous firms; heterogeneous fixed costs; Bayesian updating;

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  1. Kristian Behrens & Gregory Corcos & Giordano Mion, 2013. "Trade Crisis? What Trade Crisis?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 702-709, May.
  2. Horst Rottmann & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2010. "A Micro Data Approach to the Identification of Credit Crunches," CESifo Working Paper Series 3159, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Kremp, Elizabeth & Sevestre, Patrick, 2013. "Did the crisis induce credit rationing for French SMEs?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3757-3772.
  4. Lawless, Martina, 2009. "Firm export dynamics and the geography of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 245-254, April.
  5. Albornoz, Facundo & Calvo Pardo, Héctor F. & Corcos, Gregory & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2012. "Sequential exporting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 17-31.
  6. Alfonso A. Irarrazabal & Luca David Opromolla, 2008. "A Theory of Entry and Exit into Exports Markets," Working Papers w200820, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  7. Aeberhardt, Romain & Buono, Ines & Fadinger, Harald, 2014. "Learning, incomplete contracts and export dynamics: Theory and evidence from French firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 219-249.
  8. Holger Görg & Marina-Eliza Spaliara, 2009. "Financial health, exports and firm survival: A comparison of British and French firms," Kiel Working Papers 1568, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Andrew B Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2007. "Firm Structure, Multinationals, and Manufacturing Plant Deaths," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 193-204, May.
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  12. Costa, Stefano & Malgarini, Marco & Margani, Patrizia, 2012. "Access to credit for Italian firms: new evidence from the ISTAT confidence business surveys," MPRA Paper 41389, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Bergin, Paul R. & Glick, Reuven, 2009. "Endogenous tradability and some macroeconomic implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1086-1095, November.
  14. Araujo, Luis & Mion, Giordano & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2012. "Institutions and Export Dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 8809, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2007. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 837-873, 05.
  16. Costas Arkolakis & Natalia Ramondo & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare & Stephen Yeaple, 2013. "Innovation and Production in the Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 18972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Nguyen, Daniel X., 2012. "Demand uncertainty: Exporting delays and exporting failures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-344.
  18. Daniel X. Nguyen, 2010. "Demand Uncertainty: Exporting Delays and Exporting Failures," Discussion Papers 10-17, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  19. Impullitti, Giammario & Irarrazabal, Alfonso A. & Opromolla, Luca David, 2013. "A theory of entry into and exit from export markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 75-90.
  20. Greenaway, David & Gullstrand, Joakim & Kneller, Richard, 2008. "Surviving globalisation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 264-277, March.
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