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Institutions and export dynamics

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  • Luis Araujo

    ()
    (Michigan State University)

  • Giordano Mion

    ()
    (London School of Economics)

  • Emanuel Ornelas

    ()
    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

We study the role of contract enforcement in shaping the dynamics of international trade at the firm level. We develop a theoretical model to describe how agents build reputations to overcome the problems created by weak enforcement of international contracts. We find that, all else equal, exporters start their activities with higher volumes and remain as exporters for a longer period in countries with better contracting institutions. However, conditional on survival, the growth rate of a firm’s exports to a country decreases with the quality of the country’s institutions. We test these predictions using a rich panel of Belgium exporting firms from 1995 to 2008 to every country in the world. We adopt two alternative empirical strategies. In one specification we use firm-year fixed effects to control for time-varying firm-specific characteristics. Alternatively, we model selection more explicitly with a two-step Heckman procedure using “extended gravity” variables as our exclusion restrictions. Results from both specifications support our predictions. Overall, our findings suggest that weak contracting institutions cannot be thought simply as an extra sunk or fixed cost to exporting firms; they also significantly affect firms’ trade volumes and have manifold implications for firms’ dynamic patterns in foreign markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bank of Belgium in its series Working Paper Research with number 220.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201202-220

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Keywords: Firm Exports; Contract enforcement; Contracting institutions; Firm dynamics;

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References

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  1. Gabriel Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2011. "Trade Intermediation and the Organization of Exporters," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 634-648, 09.
  2. JaeBin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," NBER Working Papers 15706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Lawless, Martina, 2011. "Marginal Distance: Does Export Experience Reduce Firm Trade Costs?," Research Technical Papers 2/RT/11, Central Bank of Ireland.
  5. Andrei A. Levchenko & Quý Toà n Ão, 2006. "Trade, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Institutions," IMF Working Papers 06/56, International Monetary Fund.
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  8. Luis Araujo & Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Trust-Based Trade," IBMEC RJ Economics Discussion Papers 2005-08, Economics Research Group, IBMEC Business School - Rio de Janeiro.
  9. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
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  16. repec:stn:sotoec:1003 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Gregory Corcos & Delphine M. Irac & Giordano Mion & Thierry Verdier, 2008. "The Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade," Development Working Papers 267, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  18. John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 1999. "Interfirm Relationships And Informal Credit In Vietnam," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1285-1320, November.
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  20. Gwartney, James & Lawson, Robert, 2003. "The concept and measurement of economic freedom," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 405-430, September.
  21. Heiwai Tang & Yifan Zhang, 2012. "Quality Differentiation and Trade Intermediation," Development Working Papers 340, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 13 Nov 2012.
  22. Tibor Besedeš & Byung–Cheol Kim & Volodymyr Lugovskyy, 2011. "Export Growth and Credit Constraints," CeFiG Working Papers 16, Center for Firms in the Global Economy, revised 16 Oct 2011.
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