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Trade Intermediation and the Organization of Exporters

  • Gabriel Felbermayr
  • Benjamin Jung

Empirical papers show that successful exporting firms either use unaffiliated foreign trade intermediaries or own foreign wholesale subsidiaries. However, conventional trade theory models assume that producers can directly access foreign consumers. We introduce intermediaries in an international trade model where producers differ with respect to productivity as well as regarding their varieties’ perceived quality and tradability. Trade intermediation is prone to frictions owing to the absence of enforceable cross-country contracts while own wholesale subsidiaries require additional capital investment. The sorting pattern of firms depends on their degree of competitive advantage; the equilibrium prevalence of intermediation in the industry depends negatively on the heterogeneity among producers, and the market-specificity of goods, and positively on expropriation risk. Using sectoral US export data by destination country, we confirm the empirical validity of these predictions.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9396.2011.00971.x
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (09)
Pages: 634-648

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:19:y:2011:i:4:p:634-648
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Robert C. Feenstra, 1997. "U.S. Exports, 1972-1994: With State Exports and Other U.S. Data," NBER Working Papers 5990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2009. "Trade Intermediation and the Organization of Exporters," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 309/2009, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  3. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Markusen, James R, 1996. "Exploring New Markets: Direct Investment, Contractual Relations and the Multinational Enterprise," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 1-19, February.
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  6. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2011. "Information costs, networks and intermediation in international trade," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 76, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  7. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600, 05.
  8. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Aeberhardt, Romain & Buono, Ines & Fadinger, Harald, 2014. "Learning, incomplete contracts and export dynamics: Theory and evidence from French firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 219-249.
  10. Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Tradability, Productivity, and Understanding International Economic Integration," Working Papers 514, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  11. Antràs, Pol & Costinot, Arnaud, 2010. "Intermediated Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Bernardo S. Blum & Sebastian Claro & Ignatius Horstmann, 2010. "Facts and Figures on Intermediated Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 419-23, May.
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  23. Harald Trabold, 2002. "Export Intermediation: An Empirical Test of Peng and Ilinitch," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(2), pages 327-344, June.
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  28. Jennifer Abel-Koch, 2011. "Firm Size and the Choice of Export Mode," Working Papers 1105, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 29 Mar 2011.
  29. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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