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A Model of Firm Experimentation under Demand Uncertainty: an Application to Multi-Destination Exporters

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  • Cristina Mitaritonna
  • Zhanar Akhmetova
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    Abstract

    Firm level data exhibits that new exporters tend to start small, a large fraction of these drops out by the second year of exporting, and the survivors expand rapidly. To take into account this stylized fact, we propose a theory of firm behavior that assumes demand uncertainty about the profitability of exporting in a new market. The firm can postpone paying the sunk cost of full-scale entry and test the market by observing individual sales to a few consumers. The firm optimally chooses the experimentation intensity, as well as the exit/entry policy. Applying Bayesian econometric techniques, we structurally estimate the model using French firm-level export data. A given geographical regions is viewed as a target market,and countries within the region as consumers. The estimate of the sunk cost is higher than in a model where the sunk cost cannot be postponed, like Melitz (2003). We also perform counterfactual simulations (exchange rate, sunk cost and experimentation cost).

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CEPII research center in its series Working Papers with number 2013-10.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2013-10

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    Related research

    Keywords: Demand Uncertainty; Optimal Experimentation; Heterogeneous Producers; New Exporter Dynamics; Structural Estimations; Bayesian Methods;

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    1. Daniel X. Nguyen, 2010. "Demand Uncertainty: Exporting Delays and Exporting Failures," Discussion Papers 10-17, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    2. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rauch, James E. & Watson, Joel, 2003. "Starting small in an unfamiliar environment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 1021-1042, September.
    4. Facundo Albornoz & Héctor Calvo-Pardo & Gregory Corcos & Emanuel Ornelas, 2010. "Sequential exporting," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28724, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 1998. "Wald Revisited: The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1176, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
    7. 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.
    8. Freund, Caroline & Pierola, Martha Denisse, 2010. "Export entrepreneurs : evidence from Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5407, The World Bank.
    9. Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris, 1999. "Strategic Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 349-374, March.
    10. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
    11. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2007. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 837-873, 05.
    12. Nguyen, Daniel X., 2012. "Demand uncertainty: Exporting delays and exporting failures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-344.
    13. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 2001. "The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1629-1644, November.
    14. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1995. "Exploring New Markets: Direct Investment, Contractual Relations and the Multinational Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 5029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Günter J. Hitsch, 2006. "An Empirical Model of Optimal Dynamic Product Launch and Exit Under Demand Uncertainty," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(1), pages 25-50, 01-02.
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