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Volatility and Diversification of Exports: Firm-Level Theory and Evidence

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  • Gonzague Vannoorenberghe
  • Zheng Wang
  • Zhihong Yu

Abstract

We show using detailed firm-level Chinese data that, among small exporters, firms selling to a more diversified set of countries have more volatile exports, while the opposite holds among large exporters. This result, which stands in marked contrast to standard portfolio theory for small exporters, is robust to a wide array of specifications and controls. Our theoretical explanation for these observations rests on the presence of fixed costs of exports per destination and short-run demand shocks. In this setup, the volatility of a firm’s exports depends not only on the diversification of its destination portfolio but also on whether it exports permanently to all markets. Among small exporters, a more diversified pool of destinations makes the firm more likely to export occasionally to some markets, thereby raising volatility. These results cast doubt on the commonly held belief that diversification must decrease volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Gonzague Vannoorenberghe & Zheng Wang & Zhihong Yu, 2014. "Volatility and Diversification of Exports: Firm-Level Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 4916, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4916
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    Cited by:

    1. Gnangnon, Sèna Kimm, 2020. "Aid for Trade flows and Poverty Reduction in Recipient-Countries," EconStor Preprints 213807, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    2. Santosh Kumar Sahu & Sunder Ramaswamy & Abishek Choutagunta, "undated". "Export Performance, Innovation, and Productivity in Indian Manufacturing Firms," Working Papers 2017-159, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    3. Kramarz, Francis & Martin, Julien & Mejean, Isabelle, 2020. "Volatility in the small and in the large: The lack of diversification in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    4. De Sousa, José & Disdier, Anne-Célia & Gaigné, Carl, 2020. "Export decision under risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    5. Urška Čede & Bogdan Chiriacescu & Péter Harasztosi & Tibor Lalinsky & Jaanika Meriküll, 2018. "Export characteristics and output volatility: comparative firm-level evidence for CEE countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 154(2), pages 347-376, May.
    6. Federico Esposito, 2017. "Entrepreneurial Risk and Diversification through Trade," Working Papers w201714, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    7. Gigout, Timothee & Bricongne, Jean-Charles, 2019. "Explaining the Persistent Effect of Demand Uncertainty on Firm Growth," MPRA Paper 94228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Joachim Wagner, 2016. "A survey of empirical studies using transaction level data on exports and imports," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(1), pages 215-225, February.
    9. Federico Esposito, 2016. "Risk Diversification and International Trade," 2016 Meeting Papers 302, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Camila Casas & Federico J. Diez & Alejandra Gonzalez, 2017. "Heterogeneous exporters: quantitative differences and qualitative similarities," Working Papers 16-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 13 Jan 2017.
    11. Gigout, Timothee, 2019. "Firm dynamics in an global and uncertain economy," MPRA Paper 96569, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2019.
    12. Jérôme Héricourt & Clément Nedoncelle, 2015. "Relative Real Exchange-Rate Volatility, Multi-Destination Firms and Trade: Micro Evidence and Aggregate Implications," Working Papers 2015-03, CEPII research center.
    13. Lee, Jinsoo & Yu, Bok-Keun, 2019. "The Effects of Export Diversification on Macroeconomic Stabilization: Evidence from Korea," KDI Journal of Economic Policy, Korea Development Institute (KDI), vol. 41(1), pages 1-14.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    volatility; diversification exports;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

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