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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8766
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  1. Antras, Pol & Costinot, Arnaud, 2011. "Intermediated Trade," Scholarly Articles 4784024, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2005. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," NBER Working Papers 11280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  4. De Sousa, José & Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2012. "Market Access in Global and Regional Trade," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1201, CEPREMAP.
  5. 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.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Wholesalers and Retailers in U.S. Trade (Long Version)," CEP Discussion Papers dp0968, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 13054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2011. "Information costs, networks and intermediation in international trade," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 76, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  11. Shang-Jin Wei & Jaebin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," Working Papers id:2557, eSocialSciences.
  12. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Intra-Firm Trade and Product Contractibility," Working Paper Series WP10-3, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Multiple-Product Firms and Product Switching," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 70-97, March.
  18. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," NBER Working Papers 8349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Jung, Benjamin, 2011. "Trade intermediation and the organization of exporters," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 331, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
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