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Wholesalers in International Trade

  • Matthieu Crozet
  • Guy Lalanne
  • Sandra Poncet

Recent empirical research in international trade has revealed overwhelming evidence that, in all countries, a remarkably small proportion of firms report exports in Customs statistics. A large share of these are wholesalers. This suggests that the number of firms active in foreign markets might be much greater than that suggested by a simple count of the firms directly reporting their exports. This paper thus sheds light on the role of wholesalers in international trade. Our model, which allows for quality differentiation, uses very general assumptions to show that intermediated exporters may contribute significantly to the extension of countries’ export opportunities. The model predicts a twofold role in international trade. First, wholesalers help less-efficient firms to supply foreign markets, thus increasing the number of exported varieties at the aggregate level. Second, they alleviate the difficulty of reaching less-accessible markets. We use French firm-level export data to provide empirical support for these two predictions.

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Paper provided by CEPII research center in its series Working Papers with number 2010-31.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2010-31
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  1. Antras, Pol & Costinot, Arnaud, 2011. "Intermediated Trade," Scholarly Articles 4784024, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2011. "Information costs, networks and intermediation in international trade," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 76, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fergal McCann, 2010. "Indirect Exporters," Working Papers 2010-22, CEPII research center.
  5. Martin, Julien, 2012. "Markups, quality, and transport costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 777-791.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi, 2010. "Intermediaries in international trade : Direct versus indirect modes of export," Working Paper Research 199, National Bank of Belgium.
  7. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2009. "Trade Intermediation and the Organization of Exporters," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 309/2009, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  8. Crozet, Matthieu & Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2009. "Quality sorting and trade: Firm-level evidence for French wine," CEPR Discussion Papers 7295, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Juan Carlos Hallak & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2009. "Firms' Exporting Behavior under Quality Constraints," NBER Working Papers 14928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. JaeBin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," NBER Working Papers 15706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Julien Martin, 2009. "Spatial Price Discrimination in International Markets," Working Papers 2009-21, CEPII research center.
  12. Boumellassa, Houssein & Debucquet, David Laborde & Mitaritonna, Cristina, 2009. "A picture of tariff protection across the World in 2004: MAcMap-HS6, Version 2," IFPRI discussion papers 903, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Benjamin R. Mandel, 2010. "Heterogeneous firms and import quality: evidence from transaction-level prices," International Finance Discussion Papers 991, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Akerman, Anders, 2010. "A Theory on the Role of Wholesalers in International Trade based on Economies of Scope," Research Papers in Economics 2010:1, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  15. Bernardo S. Blum & Sebastian Claro & Ignatius Horstmann, 2010. "Facts and Figures on Intermediated Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 419-23, May.
  16. Johnson, Robert C., 2012. "Trade and prices with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-56.
  17. Jennifer Abel-Koch, 2011. "Firm Size and the Choice of Export Mode," Working Papers 1105, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 29 Mar 2011.
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