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Marginal Distance: Does Export Experience Reduce Firm Trade Costs?

  • Martina Lawless


Are the costs of exporting to a market reduced if a firm has experience of exporting to a neighbouring market? If so, does this effect operate through reducing entry barriers or by increasing sales once the firm is operating in the market? This paper examines linkages between current export destinations and entry, sales and exit for new markets. We find that measures of exporting experience in geographically nearby markets increase the probability of entry into a market and reduce the probability of exit. However, these same measures have very limited effect on the firm’s export sales in the market. The effect of related experience on sales tends to be negative for recently entered firms. We interpret this result in the context of the Melitz heterogeneous-firm model of trade by showing that lower fixed costs reduce the entry threshold, but this lower threshold has the effect of allowing lower-sales marginal firms to be present in the market. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Open Economies Review.

Volume (Year): 24 (2013)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 819-841

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Handle: RePEc:kap:openec:v:24:y:2013:i:5:p:819-841
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  1. Lawless, Martina & Whelan, Karl, 2008. "Where do Firms Export, How Much and Why?," Research Technical Papers 6/RT/08, Central Bank of Ireland.
  2. Brian Aitken & Gordon H. Hanson & Ann E. Harrison, 1994. "Spillovers, Foreign Investment, and Export Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
  4. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The puzzling persistence of the distance effect on bilateral trade," Post-Print hal-01172854, HAL.
  5. Albornoz-Crespo, Facundo & Calvo Pardo, Hector F. & Corcos, Gregory & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2010. "Sequential Exporting," CEPR Discussion Papers 8103, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Richard Fabling & Arthur Grimes & Lynda Sanderson, 2009. "Whatever next? Export market choices of New Zealand firms," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2009/19, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  8. Lawless, Martina, 2009. "Firm export dynamics and the geography of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 245-254, April.
  9. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lawless, Martina, 2008. "Deconstructing Gravity: Trade Costs and Extensive and Intensive Margins," Research Technical Papers 5/RT/08, Central Bank of Ireland.
  11. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies & Glen R. Waddell & Helen T. Naughton, 2004. "FDI in Space: Spatial Autoregressive Relationships in Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 10939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2006. "Notes on CEPII’s distances measures," MPRA Paper 26469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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