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Learning and the Value of Relationships in International Trade

Author

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  • Ryan Monarch
  • Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

Abstract

How valuable are long-term supplier relationships? To address this question, this paper explores relationships between U.S. importers and their suppliers abroad. We first establish several facts: almost half of U.S. imports are in relationships three years or older, relationship survival and traded quantity increase as a relationship ages, and long-term relationships were more resilient in the 2008/9 financial crisis. Based on these findings, we present a model of importer learning and calibrate it using our data. We estimate large differences in the value of relationships across countries. Counterfactuals show that relationships are central to trade flows following external shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan Monarch & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 2016. "Learning and the Value of Relationships in International Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 5724, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5724
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ryan Monarch, 2014. ""It's Not You, It's Me": Breakup In U.S.-China Trade Relationships," Working Papers 14-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Araujo, Luis & Mion, Giordano & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2016. "Institutions and export dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 2-20.
    3. Andrew B. Bernard & Andreas Moxnes & Karen Helene Ulltveit-Moe, 2018. "Two-Sided Heterogeneity and Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 424-439, July.
    4. George Alessandria & Horag Choi & Kim Ruhl, 2014. "Trade Adjustment Dynamics and the Welfare Gains from Trade," NBER Working Papers 20663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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 525-548, June.
    6. Alessandria, George & Choi, Horag, 2014. "Establishment heterogeneity, exporter dynamics, and the effects of trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 207-223.
    7. Paulo Bastos & Daniel A. Dias & Olga A. Timoshenko, 2018. "Learning, prices and firm dynamics," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(4), pages 1257-1311, November.
    8. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    9. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Brent Neiman & John Romalis, 2016. "Trade and the Global Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3401-3438, November.
    10. Sebastian Heise, 2016. "Firm-to-Firm Relationships and Price Rigidity - Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6226, CESifo.
    11. Fariha Kamal & Ryan Monarch, 2018. "Identifying foreign suppliers in U.S. import data," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 117-139, February.
    12. Costas Arkolakis & Theodore Papageorgiou & Olga Timoshenko, 2018. "Firm Learning and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 27, pages 146-168, January.
    13. Kamal, Fariha & Sundaram, Asha, 2016. "Buyer–seller relationships in international trade: Do your neighbors matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 128-140.
    14. Timoshenko, Olga A., 2015. "Learning versus sunk costs explanations of export persistence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 113-128.
    15. Tibor Besedeš, 2008. "A Search Cost Perspective on Formation and Duration of Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 835-849, November.
    16. Egan, Mary Lou & Mody, Ashoka, 1992. "Buyer-seller links in export development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 321-334, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carballo, Jeronimo & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Volpe Martincus, Christian, 2018. "The buyer margins of firms' exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 33-49.
    2. Niepmann, Friederike & Schmidt-Eisenlohr, Tim, 2017. "No guarantees, no trade: How banks affect export patterns," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 338-350.
    3. Pawel Krolikowski & Andrew H. McCallum, 2016. "Goods-Market Frictions and International Trade," Working Papers 201635R, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    4. Muendler, Marc-Andreas & Rauch, James E., 2018. "Do employee spinoffs learn markets from their parents? Evidence from international trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 159-173.
    5. Ryan Monarch, 2016. "\\"It's Not You, It's Me\\" : Breakups in U.S.-China Trade Relationships," International Finance Discussion Papers 1165, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised May 2016.
    6. Sebastian Heise, 2016. "Firm-to-Firm Relationships and Price Rigidity - Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6226, CESifo.
    7. Peter S. Eppinger & Nicole Meythaler & Marc-Manuel Sindlinger & Marcel Smolka, 2015. "The Great Trade Collapse and the Spanish Export Miracle: Firm-level Evidence from the Crisis," IAW Discussion Papers 120, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    8. Alvaro Garcia-Marin & Santiago Justel & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 2019. "Trade credit and markups," CESifo Working Paper Series 7600, CESifo.
    9. Peter Schott & Justin Pierce & Georg Schaur & Sebastian Heise, 2017. "Trade Policy Uncertainty and the Structure of Supply Chains," 2017 Meeting Papers 788, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international trade; firm relationships; learning; institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis

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