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Firm-to-Firm Trade: Imports, Exports, and the Labor Market

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  • Jonathan Eaton
  • Samuel Kortum
  • Francis Kramarz

Abstract

Customs data reveal heterogeneity and granularity of relationships among buyers and sellers. A key insight is how more exports to a destination break down into more firms selling there and more buyers per exporter. We develop a quantitative general equilibrium model of firm-to-firm matching that builds on this insight to separate the roles of iceberg costs and matching frictions in gravity. In the cross section, we find matching frictions as important as iceberg costs in impeding trade, and more sensitive to distance. Because domestic and imported intermediates compete directly with labor in performing production tasks, our model also fits the heterogeneity of labor shares across French producers. Applying the framework to the 2004 expansion of the European Union, reduced iceberg costs and reduced matching frictions contributed equally to the increase in French exports to the new members. While workers benefited overall, those competing most directly with imports gained less, even losing in some countries entering the EU.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2022. "Firm-to-Firm Trade: Imports, Exports, and the Labor Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 9557, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9557
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    2. Ryo Itoh & Kentaro Nakajima, 2021. "Do sourcing networks make firms global? Microlevel evidence from firm-to-firm transaction networks," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(1), pages 65-96, January.
    3. Dhyne, Emmanuel & Kikkawa, Ayumu Ken & Kong, Xianglong & Mogstad, Magne & Tintelnot, Felix, 2023. "Endogenous production networks with fixed costs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
    4. Dominik Boddin & Frank Stähler, 2018. "The Organization of International Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 7378, CESifo.
    5. Clémence Lenoir & Julien Martin & Isabelle Mejean, 2023. "Search Frictions in International Goods Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 326-366.
    6. Liu, Tao & Lu, Dong & Woo, Wing Thye, 2019. "Trade, finance and international currency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 374-413.
    7. Yukiko Saito & Makoto Nirei & Vasco Carvalho, 2014. "Supply Chain Disruptions: Evidence from Great East Japan Earthquake," 2014 Meeting Papers 595, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Tomasz Serwach, 2022. "The European Union and within-country income inequalities. The case of the New Member States," Working Papers hal-03548416, HAL.
    9. ARA Tomohiro, 2023. "Trade with Search Frictions: Identifying New Gains from Trade," Discussion papers 23061, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    10. Benguria, Felipe, 2021. "The matching and sorting of exporting and importing firms: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    11. Brian Cevallos Fujiy & Gaurav Khanna & Hiroshi Toma, 2022. "Cultural Proximity and Production Networks," Working Papers 686, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    12. Tomohiro Ara, 2023. "Trade with Search Frictions: Identifying New Gains from Trade," TUPD Discussion Papers 42, Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University.
    13. Lark, Olga & Videnord, Josefin, 2023. "Do Exporters Import Gender Inequality?," Working Papers 2023:6, Lund University, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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