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How Do Firms Organize Trade? Evidence from Ghana

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  • Jens Krüger

Abstract

The literature on firm heterogeneity in international trade posits that only the most productive firms become exporters (Melitz 2003). However, empirical findings suggest that also firms that are not highly productive export. This paper investigates empirically how firms organize their export trade. If selling directly, sunk costs of foreign market entry are arguably very high, so only productive firms can achieve this (Schroeder et al. 2003). Low productivity firms, by contrast, may prefer to export through trading companies, which involves lower sunk costs. Using a firm level panel data set of Ghanaian firms we investigate the relationship between firm productivity and the use of export intermediaries. Our estimation results take simultaneity problems into account and reveal that indeed low productivity firms tend to export through intermediaries

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers with number 449.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieasw:449

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Keywords: export intermediation; firm productivity;

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References

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  1. Amil Petrin & Brian P. Poi & James Levinsohn, 2004. "Production function estimation in Stata using inputs to control for unobservables," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 113-123, June.
  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. Mike W Peng & Anne Y Ilinitch, 1998. "Export Intermediary Firms: A Note on Export Development Research," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 29(3), pages 609-620, September.
  4. Holger Görg & Aoife Hanley & Eric Strobl, 2008. "Productivity effects of international outsourcing: evidence from plant-level data," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 670-688, May.
  5. Francis Teal, 1999. "Why can Mauritius export manufactures and Ghana not?," CSAE Working Paper Series 1999-10, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Catherine Pattillo & M�ns Soderbom & Francis Teal & Albert Z, 2004. "Do African Manufacturing Firms Learn from Exporting?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 115-141.
  7. Trabold, Harald & Parvati Trubswetter & Philipp J H Schroder, 2003. "Intermediation in Foreign Trade: When do Exporters Rely on Intermediaries?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 206, Royal Economic Society.
  8. 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.
  9. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  10. Mike W Peng & Anne S York, 2001. "Behind Intermediary Performance in Export Trade: Transactions, Agents, and Resources," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 32(2), pages 327-346, June.
  11. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2001. "Market entry costs, producer heterogeneity and export dynamics," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 03-10, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  12. Gordon H. Hanson & Robert C. Feenstra, 2001. "Intermediaries in Entrepot Trade: Hong Kong Re-Exports of Chinese Goods," NBER Working Papers 8088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafcharnps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willern Gunning & Jean Habarurema & Anders Isaksson & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Cathy Pattillo & Mans So, 1999. "Exports of African manufactures: macro policy and firm behaviour," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 53-71.
  14. Gordon H. Hanson & Chong Xiang, 2008. "Testing the Melitz Model of Trade: An Application to U.S. Motion Picture Exports," NBER Working Papers 14461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Shang-Jin Wei & Jaebin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," Working Papers id:2557, eSocialSciences.

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