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Institutions and Export Dynamics

  • Luis Araujo
  • Giordano Mion
  • Emanuel Ornelas

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.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1118.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1118
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Andrei A. Levchenko & Quý Toà n Ão, 2006. "Trade, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Institutions," IMF Working Papers 06/56, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  3. Costinot, Arnaud, 2007. "On the Origins of Comparative Advantage," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt07g7g8h8, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi, 2012. "Intermediaries in International Trade: Direct Versus Indirect Modes of Export," CEP Discussion Papers dp1137, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Facundo Albornoz & Héctor Calvo-Pardo & Gregory Corcos & Emanuel Ornelas, 2010. "Sequential exporting," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28724, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Besedeš, Tibor & Kim, Byung-Cheol & Lugovskyy, Volodymyr, 2014. "Export growth and credit constraints," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 350-370.
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  11. repec:stn:sotoec:1003 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Jung, Benjamin, 2011. "Trade intermediation and the organization of exporters," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 331, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  13. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  15. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  16. Gregory Corcos & Delphine M. Irac & Giordano Mion & Thierry Verdier, 2008. "The Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade," Development Working Papers 267, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  17. Heiwai Tang & Yifan Zhang, 2012. "Quality Differentiation and Trade Intermediation," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0771, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  18. Gwartney, James & Lawson, Robert, 2003. "The concept and measurement of economic freedom," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 405-430, September.
  19. Turrini, Alessandro & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2010. "Traders, courts, and the border effect puzzle," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2-3), pages 81-91, May.
  20. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
  21. Thierry Mayer & Keith Head, 2002. "Illusory Border Effects: Distance Mismeasurement Inflates Estimates of Home Bias in Trade," Working Papers 2002-01, CEPII research center.
  22. Morales, Eduardo & Sheu, Gloria & Zahler, Andrés, 2011. "Gravity and extended gravity: estimating a structural model of export entry," MPRA Paper 30311, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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