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Where Do Firms Export, How Much, and Why?

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Author Info

  • Martina Lawless

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)

  • Karl Whelan

    (University College Dublin)

Abstract

The empirical finding that exporting firms are more productive on average than non-exporters has provoked a large theoretical literature based on models such as Melitz (2003), where more productive firms are more likely to overcome costs associated with trade. This paper provides a systematic empirical assessment of the Melitz framework using a unique Irish dataset that includes information on destinations and firm characteristics such as productivity. We find a number of interesting deviations from the model’s predictions including a high degree of unpredictable idiosyncratic participation in export markets by firms, a relatively weak positive correlation between the extent of export participation and export sales, and a limited role for productivity in explaining firm exporting behavior. We illustrate the effect of firm heterogeneity on gravity regressions of aggregate trade flows and show how past exporting to a particular market has a strong impact on the current probability of exporting there.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/2008/WP08.21.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200821.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 22 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200821

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References

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  1. Eaton, Jonathan & Eslava, Marcela & Kugler, Maurice & Tybout, James, 2007. "Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence," Working Paper Series rwp07-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting trade: firms, industries, and export destinations," Staff Report 332, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  5. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  6. Lawless, Martina, 2007. "Firm Export Dynamics and the Geography of Trade," Research Technical Papers 2/RT/07, Central Bank of Ireland.
  7. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2004. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," Development Working Papers 186, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  9. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 105-130, Summer.
  10. 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.
  11. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Peter McQuade, 2009. "The Evolution of International Trade on the Extensive and Intensive Margins," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp325, IIIS, revised Apr 2010.
  2. Daniel X. Nguyen, 2010. "Demand Uncertainty: Exporting Delays and Exporting Failures," Discussion Papers 10-17, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Matthew Cole, 2011. "Not all trade restrictions are created equally," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 411-427, September.
  4. Julian Emami Namini & Giovanni Facchini & Ricardo A. Lopez, 2011. "Export Growth and Factor Market Competition: Theory and Evidence," Development Working Papers 309, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 09 May 2011.
  5. Matthew T Cole, 2009. "The Choice of Modeling Firm Heterogeneity and Trade Restrictions," Working Papers 200920, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  6. Lawless, Martina, 2011. "Marginal Distance: Does Export Experience Reduce Firm Trade Costs?," Research Technical Papers 2/RT/11, Central Bank of Ireland.
  7. Nguyen, Daniel X., 2012. "Demand uncertainty: Exporting delays and exporting failures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-344.
  8. shepherd, Ben, 2010. "Geographical Diversification of Developing Country Exports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1217-1228, September.
  9. Daniela Federici & Valentino Parisi, 2012. "Corporate Taxation and Exports," Working Papers 2012-01, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
  10. Philipp J.H. Schröder & Allan Sørensen, 2010. "The Theoretical Equivalent of Empirically Measurable Exporter Productivity when Firms are Heterogeneous," Economics Working Papers 2010-06, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  11. Jakob R. Munch & Daniel X., 2008. "Decomposing Firm-level Sales Variation," EPRU Working Paper Series 2009-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Jun 2009.
  12. Jan Jørgensen & Philipp Schröder & Zhihao Yu, 2012. "Globalization beyond partitioning: back to Krugman’s world," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 73-87, April.
  13. Cole, Matthew T. & Davies, Ronald B., 2011. "Strategic tariffs, tariff jumping, and heterogeneous firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 480-496, May.

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