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Learning versus sunk costs explanations of export persistence

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  • Timoshenko, Olga A.

Abstract

This paper explores the role of sunk costs versus learning in explaining persistence in exporting. Multiple studies attributed such persistence to sunk market-entry costs. This paper shows that similar patterns of exporting are also consistent with a learning mechanism and finds a strong empirical support for such a mechanism in the context of Colombian plant-level data. Second, the paper empirically discriminates between the two competing theories, and finds that once learning is controlled for, the role of sunk costs in generating export persistence is at most forty percent of what is currently estimated in the literature. Finally, while in differentiated-products industries export persistence arises primarily due to learning, in the homogeneous-products industries such persistence arises primarily due to the sunk-cost mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Timoshenko, Olga A., 2015. "Learning versus sunk costs explanations of export persistence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 113-128.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:79:y:2015:i:c:p:113-128
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2015.02.006
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning; Sunk costs; Export participation; State dependence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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