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Getting Ready: Preparation for Exporting


  • Iacovone, Leonardo
  • Javorcik, Beata


This study examines developments at the plant-product level preceding an expansion into foreign markets. It relies on very detailed Mexican data for 1994-2004, a period of liberalization in US trade policy vis a vis Mexico, mandated by the North American Free Trade Agreement. Our approach is novel in that we focus on quality, proxied by domestic price premium, of current and future export products. Our findings are consistent with quality upgrading taking place in preparation for entry into export markets. We show that manufacturers who export a particular product variety tend to obtain a price premium for their domestic sales of this variety. Consistently with the hypothesis of quality upgrading before exporting, we find evidence that this premium emerges exactly one year before a variety starts being exported. We find no evidence of upgrading after entering export markets. Our IV estimates suggest that the changes in the price premium are driven by the anticipated cuts in US tariffs and are particularly pronounced among producers exhibiting better performance in the initial period.

Suggested Citation

  • Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata, 2012. "Getting Ready: Preparation for Exporting," CEPR Discussion Papers 8926, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8926

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
    3. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
    4. Maggie Xiaoyang Chen & John Wilson & Tsunehiro Otsuki, 2008. "Standards and export decisions: Firm-level evidence from developing countries," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 501-523.
    5. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
    6. Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata, 2004. "The composition of foreign direct investment and protection of intellectual property rights: Evidence from transition economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 39-62, February.
    7. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-level Productivity…For Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099.
    8. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1384-1402, December.
    9. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
    10. Matthieu Crozet & Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2012. "Quality Sorting and Trade: Firm-level Evidence for French Wine," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 609-644.
    11. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    12. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages 134-161, February.
    13. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/10148 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. John Sutton, 2007. "Quality, Trade and the Moving Window: The Globalisation Process," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 469-498, November.
    15. Danielken Molina & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2013. "Preparing to Export," NBER Working Papers 18962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    exporting; Mexico; NAFTA; plant-product level data; quality;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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