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Carry-Along Trade

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  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • Emily J. Blanchard
  • Ilke Van Beveren
  • Hylke Y. Vandenbussche

Abstract

Large multi-product firms dominate international trade flows. This paper documents new facts about multi-product manufacturing exporters that are not easily reconciled with existing multi-product models. Using novel linked production and export data at the firm-product level, we find that the overwhelming majority of manufacturing firms export products that they do not produce. Three quarters of the exported products and thirty percent of export value from Belgian manufacturers are in goods that are not produced by the firm, so-called Carry-Along Trade (CAT). The number of CAT products is strongly increasing in firm productivity while the number of produced products that are exported is weakly increasing in firm productivity. We propose a general model of production and sourcing at multi-product firms. While the baseline model fails to reconcile the relationships between firm productivity and the numbers of exported products observed in the data, several demand and supply-side extensions to the model are more successful. Looking at export price data, we find support for a novel theoretical extension based on demand-scope complementarities.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18246.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18246

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References

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  1. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
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  3. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2007. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 370, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  5. Bernard, Andrew & Redding, Stephen J & Schott, Peter, 2005. "Products and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5126, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Thierry Mayer & Marc Melitz & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2011. "Market Size, Competition, and the Product Mix of Exporters," Working Papers 2011-11, CEPII research center.
  7. Costas Arkolakis & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2010. "The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3309, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2009. "Why Do Firms Own Production Chains?," Working Papers 09-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Jan De Loecker & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit K. Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik, 2012. "Prices, Markups and Trade Reform," NBER Working Papers 17925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. James E. Rauch & Joel Watson, 2004. "Network Intermediaries in International Trade," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 69-93, 03.
  12. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Thierry Mayer, . "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 12, December.
  13. Akerman, Anders, 2010. "A Theory on the Role of Wholesalers in International Trade based on Economies of Scope," Research Papers in Economics 2010:1, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  14. Shang-Jin Wei & Jaebin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," Working Papers id:2557, eSocialSciences.
  15. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8m210prh is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Leonardo Iacovone & BeataS. Javorcik, 2010. "Multi-Product Exporters: Product Churning, Uncertainty and Export Discoveries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 481-499, 05.
  17. Eckel, Carsten & Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata & Neary, J Peter, 2011. "Multi-Product Firms at Home and Away: Cost- versus Quality-based Competence," CEPR Discussion Papers 8186, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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