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Export decisions of services firms between agglomeration effects and market-entry costs

  • Henk Kox

    ()

The paper tests the role of agglomeration effects on the export decision of services firms. Recent theories on trade with heterogeneous firms predict that export participation goes along with sunk market-entry costs. Only the more productive firms will be able to overcome these sunk costs. This leads to a process of - ex ante - self selection. These predictions are tested for the services industry, with due account for the possible role of agglomeration effects in large-city areas. Standard empirical tests of the new trade models consistently find productivity-based ex ante self selection by exporters, and this effect is mostly explained by unobserved sunk entry costs that exporters have to absorb in new foreign markets. Recent research by urban economists (e.g. Combes et al., 2012) suggests, however, that operating in large-city areas also goes along with positive productivity sorting. Ignoring this leads to upwardly biased estimates of the effect of foreign market entry costs. A large set of micro data for establishments in Dutch services is used to investigate this hypothesis. I find evidence that positive productivity self-selection is based on the combined effects of agglomeration and anticipated market-entry cost for export starters. This effect is strongest in markets with more or less homogeneous products. I also find evidence that the productivity self-selection effect (of exporters compared to non-traders) is stronger in non-urban areas and smaller agglomerations.

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Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Discussion Paper with number 211.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:211
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  1. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent & Puga, Diego & Roux, Sébastien, 2012. "The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities: Distinguishing Agglomeration from Firm Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 6502, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Roger Smeets & Harold Creusen & Arjan Lejour & Henk Kox, 2010. "Export margins and export barriers: uncovering market entry costs of exporters in the Netherlands," CPB Document 208, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  3. OTTAVIANO, Gianmarco & THISSE, Jacques-François, 1999. "Agglomeration and trade revisited," CORE Discussion Papers 1999041, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  19. Kox, Henk L.M. & Rojas Romasgosa, Hugo, 2010. "Exports and productivity selection effects for Dutch firms," MPRA Paper 24390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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  23. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
  24. Baldwin, Richard & Krugman, Paul, 1989. "Persistent Trade Effects of Large Exchange Rate Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 635-54, November.
  25. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  26. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. Andersson, Martin & Lööf, Hans, 2009. "Agglomeration and Productivity - evidence from firm-level data," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 170, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  29. Tibor Besedes & Thomas Prusa, 2006. "Ins, outs, and the duration of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 266-295, February.
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