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The power of exports

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Author Info

  • Easterly, William
  • Reshef, Ariell
  • Schwenkenberg, Julia

Abstract

The authors systematically document remarkably high degrees of concentration in manufacturing exports for a sample of 151 countries over a range of 3,000 products. For every country manufacturing exports are dominated by a few"big hits"which account for most of the export value and where the"hit"includes both finding the right product and finding the right market. Higher export volumes are associated with higher degrees of concentration, after controlling for the number of destinations a country penetrates. This further highlights the importance of big hits. The distribution of exports closely follows a power law, especially in the upper tail. These findings do not support a"picking winners"policy for export development; the power law characterization implies that the chance of picking a winner diminishes exponentially with the degree of success. Moreover, given the size of the economy, developing countries are more exposed to demand shocks than rich ones, which further lowers the benefits from trying to pick winners.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5081.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5081

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Related research

Keywords: Markets and Market Access; Economic Theory&Research; Access to Markets; Airports and Air Services; Tax Law;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. di Giovanni, Julian & Levchenko, Andrei A. & Rancière, Romain, 2010. "Power Laws in Firm Size and Openness to Trade: Measurement and Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 7773, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cadot, Olivier & Iacovone, Leonardo & Pierola, Denisse & Rauch, Ferdinand, 2011. "Success and failure of African exporters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5657, The World Bank.
  3. Andrei A. Levchenko & Julian di Giovanni & Romain Ranciere, 2010. "Power Laws in Firm Size and Openness to Trade," IMF Working Papers 10/109, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Reis, Jose Guilherme & Taglioni, Daria, 2013. "Determinants of export growth at the extensive and intensive margins : evidence from product and firm-level data for Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6341, The World Bank.
  5. World Bank, 2010. "Bhutan Investment Climate Assessment Report : Vitalizing the Private Sector, Creating Jobs, Volume 1. Summary Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12871, The World Bank.
  6. Matías Berthelon, 2011. "Chilean Export Performance: the Rol of Intensive and Extensive Margins," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 615, Central Bank of Chile.
  7. Christian Henn & Chris Papageorgiou & Nicola Spatafora, 2013. "Export Quality in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 13/108, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Aleksandra PARTEKA & Massimo TAMBERI, 2008. "Determinants of Export Diversification: an Empirical Investigation," Working Papers 327, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  9. Sufrauj, Shamnaaz & Schiavo, Stefano & Riccaboni, Massimo, 2014. "The Structure and Growth of World Trade, and the Role of Europe in the Global Economy," MPRA Paper 54122, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. di Giovanni, Julian & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2013. "Firm entry, trade, and welfare in Zipf's world," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 283-296.
  11. Massimo Riccaboni & Stefano Schiavo, 2012. "Stochastic Trade Networks," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_014, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  12. World Bank, 2010. "Bhutan Investment Climate Assessment Report : Vitalizing the Private Sector, Creating Jobs, Volume 2," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12872, The World Bank.
  13. Kaplan, David, 2012. "South African mining equipment and specialist services: Technological capacity, export performance and policy," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 425-433.
  14. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Swarnim Waglé, 2013. "Export Performance in Transition: The Case of Georgia," Departmental Working Papers 2013-02, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  15. Daniel Lederman & William F. Maloney, 2012. "Does What You Export Matter? In Search of Empirical Guidance for Industrial Policies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9371, October.

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