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Does Export Openness Increase Firm-level Output Volatility?


  • Claudia M. Buch
  • Jörg Döpke
  • Harald Strotmann


Abstract There is a widespread concern that increased trade may lead to increased instability and thus risk at the firm level. Greater export openness can indeed affect firm-level volatility by changing the exposure and the reaction of firms to macroeconomic developments. The net effect is ambiguous from a theoretical point of view. This paper provides firm-level evidence on the link between openness and volatility. Using comprehensive data on more than 21,000 German manufacturing firms for the period 1980-2001, we analyse the evolution of firm-level output volatility and the link between volatility and export openness. Our paper has three main findings. First, firm-level output volatility is significantly higher than the level of aggregate volatility, but it displays similar patterns. Second, increased export openness lowers firm-level output volatility. This effect is primarily driven by variations along the extensive margin, i.e. by the distinction between exporters and non-exporters. Variations along the intensive margin, i.e. the volume of exports, tend to have a dampening impact on volatility as well. Third, small firms are more volatile than large firms. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia M. Buch & Jörg Döpke & Harald Strotmann, 2009. "Does Export Openness Increase Firm-level Output Volatility?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 531-551, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:32:y:2009:i:4:p:531-551

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    Cited by:

    1. García-Vega, María & Guariglia, Alessandra & Spaliara, Marina-Eliza, 2012. "Volatility, financial constraints, and trade," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-76.
    2. Luciana Juvenal & Paulo Santos Monteiro, 2013. "Export market diversification and productivity improvements: theory and evidence from Argentinean firms," Working Papers 2013-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. Chiriacescu, Bogdan & Lalinsky, Tibor & Čede, Urška & Meriküll, Jaanika & Harasztosi, Péter, 2016. "Export characteristics and output volatility: comparative firm-level evidence for CEE countries," Working Paper Series 1902, European Central Bank.
    4. Buch Claudia M & Doepke Joerg & Stahn Kerstin, 2009. "Great Moderation at the Firm Level? Unconditional vs. Conditional Output Volatility," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, May.
    5. Vannoorenberghe, Gonzague & Wang, Zheng & Yu, Zhihong, 2016. "Volatility and diversification of exports: Firm-level theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 216-247.
    6. Tanaka, Ayumu, 2013. "The causal effects of exporting on domestic workers: A firm-level analysis using Japanese data," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 13-23.
    7. Adina Ardelean & Miguel Leon-Ledesma & Laura Puzzello, 2017. "Industry Volatility and International Trade," Studies in Economics 1709, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    8. Kurz, Christopher & Senses, Mine Z., 2016. "Importing, exporting, and firm-level employment volatility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 160-175.
    9. repec:zbw:rwirep:0228 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sourafel Girma & Sandra Lancheros & Alejandro Riaño, 2016. "Global Engagement and Returns Volatility," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(6), pages 814-833, December.
    11. Vannoorenberghe, G., 2012. "Firm-level volatility and exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 57-67.
    12. Daniel Baumgarten, 2010. "International Trade and Worker Turnover – Empirical Evidence for Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0228, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    13. MATSUURA Toshiyuki, 2013. "Why Did Manufacturing Firms Increase the Number of Non-regular Workers in the 2000s? Does international trade matter?," Discussion papers 13036, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. Maggioni, Daniela & Lo Turco, Alessia & Gallegati, Mauro, 2016. "Does product complexity matter for firms' output volatility?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 94-109.
    15. HIGUCHI Yoshio & KIYOTA Kozo & MATSUURA Toshiyuki, 2016. "Multinationals, Intrafirm Trade, and Employment Volatility," Discussion papers 16087, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    16. Daniel Baumgarten, 2015. "International trade and worker flows: empirical evidence for Germany," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 151(3), pages 589-608, August.
    17. Daniela MAGGIONI & Alessia LO TURCO & Mauro GALLEGATI, 2014. "Does export complexity matter for firms' output volatility?," Working Papers 407, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    18. Di Cintio, Marco & Ghosh, Sucharita & Grassi, Emanuele, 2017. "Firm growth, R&D expenditures and exports: An empirical analysis of italian SMEs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 836-852.
    19. Boris Cournède & Paula Garda & Volker Ziemann, 2015. "Effects of Economic Policies on Microeconomic Stability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1201, OECD Publishing.
    20. Baumgarten, Daniel, 2010. "International Trade and Worker Turnover – Empirical Evidence for Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 228, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

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