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Wholesalers and Retailers in U.S. Trade (Long Version)


  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • J. Bradford Jensen
  • Stephen J. Redding
  • Peter K. Schott


International trade models typically assume that producers in one country trade directly with final consumers in another. In reality, of course, trade can involve long chains of potentially independent actors who move goods through wholesale and retail distribution networks. These networks likely affect the magnitude and nature of trade frictions and hence both the pattern of trade and its welfare gains. To promote further understanding of the means by which goods move across borders, this paper examines the extent to which U.S. exports and imports flow through wholesalers and retailers versus producing and consuming firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2012. "Wholesalers and Retailers in U.S. Trade (Long Version)," Working Papers 12-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:12-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2007. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 370, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:cje:issued:v:51:y:2018:i:1:p:156-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Pol Antràs & Arnaud Costinot, 2011. "Intermediated Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1319-1374.
    4. Ahn, JaeBin & Khandelwal, Amit K. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2011. "The role of intermediaries in facilitating trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-85, May.
    5. James E. Rauch & Joel Watson, 2004. "Network Intermediaries in International Trade," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 69-93, March.
    6. Emek Basker & Pham Hoang Van, 2007. "Wal-Mart as Catalyst to U.S.-China Trade," Working Papers 0710, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    7. Anders Akerman, 2018. "A theory on the role of wholesalers in international trade based on economies of scope," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 51(1), pages 156-185, February.
    8. Emek Basker & Pham Hoang Van, 2010. "Imports "Я" Us: Retail Chains as Platforms for Developing-Country Imports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 414-418, May.
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    More about this item


    Wholesaler; Retailer; Intermediary; International Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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