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The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis

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  • Costas Arkolakis
  • Marc-Andreas Muendler

Abstract

We use a panel of Brazilian exporters, their products, and destination markets to document a set of regularities for multi-product exporters: (i) few top-selling products account for the bulk of a firm’s exports in a market, (ii) the distribution of exporter scope (the number of products per firm in a market) is similar across markets, and (iii) within each market, exporter scope is positively associated with average sales per product. Our data also show that firms systematically export their highest-sales products across multiple destinations. To account for these regularities, we develop a model of firm-product heterogeneity with entry costs that depend on exporter scope. Estimating this model for the within-firm sales distribution we identify the nature and components of product entry costs. We find that firms face a strong decline in product sales with scope but also that market-specific entry costs drop fast. Counterfactual experiments with globally falling entry costs indicate that a large share of the simulated increase in trade is attributable to declines in the firm’s entry cost for the first product.

Suggested Citation

  • Costas Arkolakis & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2010. "The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3309, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3309
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international trade; heterogeneous firms; multi-product firms; firm and product panel data; Brazil;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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