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The Determinants of Service Imports: The Role of Cost Pressure and Financial Constraints

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  • Elena Biewen

    ()

  • Daniela Harsch
  • Julia Spies

    ()

Abstract

This study provides evidence on how German multinational firms restructured their service activities during the last decade. Making use of new micro-level data on service imports of German multinationals from 2002-2008, we assess the determinants of service offshoring along the extensive and intensive margins. In particular, we evaluate how internal frictions in terms of lower sales level (per employee) and external frictions in terms of a reduced availability of credit co-determine the likelihood and the extent of sourcing services from abroad. First, we find a decreasing probability of starting to import services from abroad if firms are already under cost pressure. By contrast, firms intensify existing linkages of service imports in times of a sales drop. Second, financial constraints, which play a major role for goods trade, do not have any significant effect on service imports. These results are in line with the argument that the generally observed crisis-resilience of service trade stems from increased pressures to save on variable costs through offshoring and from its lower dependence on external finance. Furthermore, we find that a decline in sales and labor productivity induces firms to sort into intra-firm rather than arm’s-length trading.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW) in its series IAW Discussion Papers with number 90.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:90

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Keywords: Service Imports; Intra-Firm Trade; Arm’s-Length Trade;

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  1. Robert C. Feenstra & Zhiyuan Li & Miaojie Yu, 2011. "Exports and Credit Constraints Under Incomplete Information: Theory and Evidence from China," NBER Working Papers 16940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Vogel, Alexander & Wagner, Joachim, 2008. "Higher Productivity in Importing German Manufacturing Firms: Self-Selection, Learning from Importing, or Both?," IZA Discussion Papers 3854, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Ingo Borchert & Aaditya Mattoo, 2009. "The Crisis Resilience of Services Trade," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11123, The World Bank.
  4. Markus Kelle & Jörn Kleinert & Horst Raff & Farid Toubal, 2013. "Cross-border and Foreign Affiliate Sales of Services: Evidence from German Microdata," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(11), pages 1373-1392, November.
  5. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross job creation, gross job destruction and employment reallocation," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Mary Amiti & David E. Weinstein, 2011. "Exports and Financial Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1841-1877.
  7. Sebastian Hügelschäffer & Daniel Kromer & Alexander Lipponer, 2009. "Die deutsche Statistik über Direktinvestitionen: Neuerungen und wissenschaftliche Nutzung," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 157-167, November.
  8. Kelle, Markus & Kleinert, Jörn, 2010. "German firms in service trade," Economics Working Papers 2010,03, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  9. Ines Buono & Harald Fadinger & Stefan Berger, 2008. "The Micro Dynamic of Exporting-Evidence from French Firms," Vienna Economics Papers 0901, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  10. Wagner, Joachim & Temouri, Yama & Vogel, Alexander, 2011. "Self-Selection into Export Markets by Business Services Firms: Evidence from France, Germany and the United Kingdom," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48700, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  11. Altomonte, C. & Di Mauro, F. & Ottaviano, G. & Rungi, A. & Vicard, V., 2012. "Global Value Chains during the Great Trade Collapse: A Bullwhip Effect?," Working papers 364, Banque de France.
  12. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2011. "International trade in services: A portrait of importers and exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 188-206, July.
  13. Giuliano Conti & Alessia Lo Turco & Daniela Maggioni, 2010. "Exporters in Services: new Evidence from Italian Firms," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 56(1), pages 73-98.
  14. Stefano Federico & Enrico Tosti, 2012. "Exporters and importers of services: firm-level evidence on Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 877, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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