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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. Ahn, JaeBin & Khandelwal, Amit K. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2011. "The role of intermediaries in facilitating trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-85, May.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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. Pol Antràs & Arnaud Costinot, 2011. "Intermediated Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1319-1374.
  6. De Sousa, Jose & Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2011. "Market access in global and regional trade," MPRA Paper 35602, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2007. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 370, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Martina Lawless, 2010. "Deconstructing gravity: trade costs and extensive and intensive margins," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1149-1172, November.
  9. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0795, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  11. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin, 2011. "Trade intermediation and the organization of exporters," Munich Reprints in Economics 20574, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  15. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Wholesalers and Retailers in U.S. Trade (Long Version)," NBER Working Papers 15660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. 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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