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Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence

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  • Jonathan Eaton
  • Marcela Eslava
  • Maurice Kugler
  • James Tybout

Abstract

Using transactions-level customs data from Colombia, we study firm-specific export patterns over the period 1996-2005. Our data allow us to track firms' entry and exit into and out of individual destination markets, as well as their revenues from selling there. We find that, in a typical year, nearly half of all Colombian exporters were not exporters in the previous year. These new exporters tend to be extremely small in terms of their overall contribution to export revenues, and most do not continue exporting in the following year. Hence export sales are dominated by a small number of very large and stable exporters. Nonetheless, out of each cohort of new exporters, a fraction of firms go on to expand their foreign sales very rapidly, and over the period of less than a decade, these successful new exporters account for almost half of total export expansion. Finally, we find that new exporters begin in a single foreign market and, if they survive, gradually expand into additional destinations. The geographic expansion paths they follow, and their likelihood of survival as exporters, depend on their initial destination market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13531.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13531

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  1. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144, 08.
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  3. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
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  12. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, 09.
  14. 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.
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  16. Tibor Besedes, . "A Search Cost Perspective on Duration of Trade," Departmental Working Papers 2006-12, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  17. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 150-154, May.
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  19. Brooks, Eileen L., 2006. "Why don't firms export more? Product quality and Colombian plants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 160-178, June.
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