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Carry-Along Trade

  • Bernard, Andrew B.
  • Blanchard, Emily
  • van Beveren, Ilke
  • Vandenbussche, Hylke

Large multi-product firms dominate international trade flows. This paper documents new facts about multi-product manufacturing exporters that are not easily reconciled with existing multi-product models. Using novel linked production and export data at the firm-product level, we find that the overwhelming majority of manufacturing firms export products that they do not produce. Three quarters of the exported products and thirty percent of export value from Belgian manufacturers are in goods that are not produced by the firm, so-called Carry-Along Trade (CAT). The number of CAT products is strongly increasing in firm productivity while the number of produced products that are exported is weakly increasing in firm productivity. We propose a general model of production and sourcing at multi-product firms. While the baseline model fails to reconcile the relationships between firm productivity and the numbers of exported products observed in the data, several demand and supply-side extensions to the model are more successful. Looking at export price data, we find support for a novel theoretical extension based on demand-scope complementarities.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9067.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9067
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  1. Costas Arkolakis & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2010. "The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3309, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Jan De Loecker, 2014. "Price, Markups and Trade Reforms," Working Papers id:5900, eSocialSciences.
  3. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2007. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 370, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Bernard, Andrew B. & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2005. "Products and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5126, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Syverson, Chad, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Leonardo Iacovone & BeataS. Javorcik, 2010. "Multi-Product Exporters: Product Churning, Uncertainty and Export Discoveries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 481-499, 05.
  8. Shang-Jin Wei & Jaebin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," Working Papers id:2557, eSocialSciences.
  9. Thierry Mayer & Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2011. "Market size, competition, and the product mix of exporters," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  10. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2009. "Why Do Firms Own Production Chains?," Working Papers 09-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Andrew B. Bernard & Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi, 2011. "Intermediaries in International Trade: Direct versus indirect modes of export," NBER Working Papers 17711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Eckel, Carsten & Neary, J. P., 2010. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20525, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Eckel, Carsten & Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata & Neary, J. Peter, 2015. "Multi-product firms at home and away: Cost- versus quality-based competence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 216-232.
  14. 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.
  15. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8m210prh is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Peter Neary & Monika Mrazova, 2011. "Selection Effects with Heterogeneous Firms," Economics Series Working Papers 588, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
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