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Intermediaries in International Trade: Direct versus indirect modes of export

  • Bernard, Andrew B.
  • Grazzi, Marco
  • Tomasi, Chiara

This paper examines the factors that give rise to intermediaries in exporting and explores the implications for trade volumes. Export intermediaries such as wholesalers serve different markets and export different products than manufacturing exporters. In particular, high market-specific fixed costs of exporting, the (lack of) quality of the general contracting environment and product-specific factors play important roles in explaining the existence of export intermediaries. These underlying differences between direct and intermediary exporters have important consequences for trade flows. The ability of export intermediaries to overcome country and product fixed costs means that they can more easily respond along the extensive margin to external shocks. Intermediaries and direct exporters respond differently to exchange rate fluctuations both in terms of the total value of shipments and the number of products exported as well as in terms of prices and quantities. Aggregate exports to destinations with high shares of indirect exports are much less responsive to changes in the real exchange rate than are exports to countries served primarily by direct exporters.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8766.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8766
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," NBER Working Papers 8349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Shang-Jin Wei & Jaebin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," Working Papers id:2557, eSocialSciences.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Wholesalers and retailers in US Trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28614, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. de Sousa, José & Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2012. "Market Access in Global and Regional Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 9085, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Intrafirm trade and product contractibility," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28616, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  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. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2008. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," NBER Working Papers 14610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lawless, Martina, 2008. "Deconstructing Gravity: Trade Costs and Extensive and Intensive Margins," MPRA Paper 10230, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Multiple-product firms and product switching," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27861, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  12. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2009. "A Concordance Between Ten-Digit U.S. Harmonized System Codes and SIC/NAICS Product Classes and Industries," NBER Working Papers 15548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gabriel Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2011. "Trade Intermediation and the Organization of Exporters," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 634-648, 09.
  15. 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.
  16. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2012. "Wholesalers and Retailers in U.S. Trade (Long Version)," Working Papers 12-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  18. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2009. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 435-480, January.
  20. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2008. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0848, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  21. Antras, Pol & Costinot, Arnaud, 2011. "Intermediated Trade," Scholarly Articles 4784024, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  22. James E. Rauch & Joel Watson, 2004. "Network Intermediaries in International Trade," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 69-93, 03.
  23. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
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