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Financial factors and the margins of trade: Evidence from cross-country firm-level data

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  • Berman, Nicolas
  • Héricourt, Jérôme

Abstract

Using a large cross-country, firm-level database containing 5000 firms in 9 developing and emerging economies, we study how financial factors affect both firms' export decisions and the amount exported by firms. First, our results highlight the importance of the impact of firms' access to finance on their entry decision into the export market. However, better financial health neither increases the probability of remaining an exporter once the firm has entered, nor the size of exports. Second, we find that financial constraints create a disconnection between firms' productivity and their export status: productivity is only a significant determinant of the export decision if the firm has a sufficient access to external finance. Finally, an increase in a country's financial development dampens this disconnection, thus acting both on the number of exporters and on the exporters' selection process. These results contribute to the literature documenting the role of fixed costs and of the extensive margin of trade in total trade adjustment, and provide micro-level evidence of the positive impact of financial development on trade found by previous literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Berman, Nicolas & Héricourt, Jérôme, 2010. "Financial factors and the margins of trade: Evidence from cross-country firm-level data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 206-217, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:93:y:2010:i:2:p:206-217
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    Keywords

    Export decisions Margins of trade Financial constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F0 - International Economics - - General
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing

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