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Firms in International Trade

  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • J. Bradford Jensen
  • Stephen J. Redding
  • Peter K. Schott

Since the mid-1990s, researchers have used micro datasets to study countries' production and trade at the firm level and have found that exporting firms differ substantially from firms that solely serve the domestic market. Across a wide range of countries and industries, exporting firms have been shown to be larger, more productive, more skill- and capital-intensive, and to pay higher wages than nonexporting firms. These differences exist even before exporting begins and have important consequences for evaluating the gains from trade and their distribution across factors of production. The new empirical research challenges traditional models of international trade and, as a result, the focus of the international trade field has shifted from countries and industries towards firms and products. Recently available transaction-level U.S. trade data reveal new stylized facts about firms' participation in international markets, and recent theories of international trade incorporating the behavior of heterogenous firms have made substantial progress in explaining patterns of trade and productivity growth.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.21.3.105
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 105-130

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:3:p:105-130
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.3.105
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. J. Bradford Jensen & Andrew Bernard, 2005. "Firm Structure, Multinationals, and Manufacturing Plant Deaths," Working Papers 05-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 31-66.
  4. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
  5. Nina Pavcnik, 2000. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," NBER Working Papers 7852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrew Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2008. "Multi-Product Firms and Product Switching," Working Papers 08-24, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2001. "Market entry costs, producer heterogeneity and export dynamics," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 03-10, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  8. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Daniel Trefler, 2006. "The long and short of the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6721, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Francis Kramarz & Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2005. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2005 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2006. "Globalization and Endogenous Firm Scope," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-015, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  12. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Survival of the best fit: Exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 219-237, January.
  13. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 12782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "The Economic Theory of Index Numbers and the Measurement of Input, Output, and Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1393-1414, November.
  15. Helpman, E., 1998. "The Structure of Foreign Trade," Papers 18-98, Tel Aviv.
  16. Eckel, Carsten & Neary, J. P., 2010. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20525, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  18. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning By Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence From Colombia, Mexico, And Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947, August.
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  20. Roberto Alvarez & Ricardo López, 2005. "Exporting and performance: evidence from Chilean plants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1384-1400, November.
  21. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  25. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  26. 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.
  27. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Exporting Raises Productivity in Sub-Saharan African Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 10020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1384-1402, December.
  29. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  30. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
  31. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," NBER Working Papers 12091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-product Versus Within-product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 646-677, May.
  33. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  34. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Trade costs, firms and productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 917-937, July.
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  36. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
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