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Institutions and Export Dynamics

Author

Listed:
  • Luis Araujo
  • Giordano Mion
  • Emanuel Ornelas

Abstract

We study the role of contract enforcement in shaping the dynamics of international trade at the firm level. We develop a theoretical model to describe how agents build reputations to overcome the problems created by weak enforcement of international contracts. We find that, all else equal, exporters start their activities with higher volumes and remain as exporters for a longer period in countries with better contracting institutions. However, conditional on survival, the growth rate of a firm's exports to a country decreases with the quality of the country's institutions. We test these predictions using a rich panel of Belgium exporting firms from 1995 to 2008 to every country in the world. We adopt two alternative empirical strategies. In one specification we use firm-year fixed effects to control for time-varying firm-specific characteristics. Alternatively, we model selection more explicitly with a two-step Heckman procedure using "extended gravity" variables as our exclusion restrictions. Results from both specifications support our predictions. Overall, our findings suggest that weak contracting institutions cannot be thought simply as an extra sunk or fixed cost to exporting firms; they also significantly affect firms' trade volumes and have manifold implications for firms' dynamic patterns in foreign markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Araujo & Giordano Mion & Emanuel Ornelas, 2012. "Institutions and Export Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp1118, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1118
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm exports; contract enforcement; contracting institutions; firm dynamics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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