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Market Size, Competition, and the Product Mix of Exporters

  • Thierry Mayer
  • Marc Melitz
  • Gianmarco Ottaviano

We build a theoretical model of multi-product firms that highlights how market size and geography (the market sizes of and bilateral economic distances to trading partners) affect both a firm’s exported product range and its exported product mix across market destinations (the distribution of sales across products for a given product range). We show how tougher competition in an export market induces a firm to skew its export sales towards its best performing products. We find very strong confirmation of this competitive effect for French exporters across export market destinations. Trade models based on exogenous markups cannot explain this strong significant link between destination market characteristics and the within-firm skewness of export sales (after controlling for bilateral trade costs). Theoretically, this within firm change in product mix driven by the trading environment has important repercussions on firm productivity and how it responds to changes in that trading environment.

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Paper provided by CEPII research center in its series Working Papers with number 2011-11.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2011-11
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  1. John Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2009. "The Impact of Trade on Plant Scale, Production-Run Length and Diversification," NBER Chapters, in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 557-592 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  3. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Thierry Mayer, . "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 12, June.
  4. Jan De Loecker & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit K. Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik, 2012. "Prices, Markups and Trade Reform," Working Papers 1403, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
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  7. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J Bradford & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Allanson, Paul & Montagna, Catia, 2005. "Multiproduct firms and market structure: An explorative application to the product life cycle," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 587-597, September.
  9. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2010. "Structural gravity equation with intensive and extensive margins," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00610937, HAL.
  10. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. James Harrigan & Haiyan Deng, 2008. "China's Local Comparative Advantage," NBER Working Papers 13963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel S & Kramarz, Francis, 2009. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 7111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2010. "Structural gravity equations with intensive and extensive margins," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(1), pages 41-62, February.
  15. Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata S., 2008. "Multi-product exporters : diversification and micro-level dynamics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4723, The World Bank.
  16. Stephen J Redding & Peter K Schott & Andrew B Bernard, 2007. "Multi-product Firms and Trade Liberalization," 2007 Meeting Papers 44, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Costas Arkolakis & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2010. "The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Eckel, Carsten & Neary, J. P., 2010. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20525, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  19. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  20. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 11393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/10147 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2007. "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms New facts based on firm-level evidence," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10147, Sciences Po.
  23. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1.
  24. Robert Feenstra & Hong Ma, 2007. "Optimal Choice of Product Scope for Multiproduct Firms under Monopolistic Competition," NBER Working Papers 13703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2011. "Gravity, market potential and economic development," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 281-294, March.
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