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The Buyer Margins of Firms' Exports

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  • Carballo, Jerónimo
  • Ottaviano, Gianmarco
  • Volpe Martincus, Christian

Abstract

We use highly disaggregated firm-level export data from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Uruguay over the period 2005-2008 to provide a precise characterization of firms' export margins, across products, destination countries, and crucially customers. We show that a firm's number of buyers and the distribution of sales across them systematically vary with the characteristics of its destination markets. While most firms serve only very few buyers abroad, the number of buyers and the skewness of sales across them increases with the size and the accessibility of destinations. We develop a simple model of selection with heterogeneous buyers and sellers consistent with these findings in which tougher competition induces a better alignment between consumers' ideal variants and firms' core competencies. This generates an additional channel through which tougher competition leads to higher productivity and higher welfare and hints at an additional source of gains from trade as long as freer trade fosters competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Carballo, Jerónimo & Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Volpe Martincus, Christian, 2013. "The Buyer Margins of Firms' Exports," CEPR Discussion Papers 9584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9584
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    Cited by:

    1. Egger, Peter H. & Erhardt, Katharina & Lassmann, Andrea, 2019. "Immigration and firms’ integration in international production networks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 1-34.
    2. Carballo, Jeronimo & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Volpe Martincus, Christian, 2018. "The buyer margins of firms' exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 33-49.
    3. Defever, Fabrice & Fischer, Christian & Suedekum, Jens, 2016. "Relational contracts and supplier turnover in the global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 147-165.
    4. Araujo, Luis & Mion, Giordano & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2016. "Institutions and export dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 2-20.
    5. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Carballo, Jerónimo & Graziano, Alejandro, 2015. "Customs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 119-137.
    6. Andrea Ariu & Elena Biewen & Sven Blank & Guillaume Gaulier & María Jesus González & Philipp Meinen & Daniel Mirza & Cesar Martín & Patry Tello, 2019. "Firm heterogeneity and aggregate business services exports: Micro evidence from Belgium, France, Germany and Spain," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 564-589, February.
    7. Sergey G. Kokovin & Shamil Sharapudinov & Alexander Tarasov & Philip Ushchev, 2020. "A Theory of Monopolistic Competition with Horizontally Heterogeneous Consumers," CESifo Working Paper Series 8082, CESifo.
    8. Fariha Kamal & Ryan Monarch, 2018. "Identifying foreign suppliers in U.S. import data," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 117-139, February.
    9. Defever, Fabrice & Fischer, Christian & Suedekum, Jens, 2017. "Supplier search and re-matching in global sourcing: theory and evidence from China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86605, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Bøler, Esther Ann & Javorcik, Beata & Ulltveit-Moe, Karen Helene, 2018. "Working across time zones: Exporters and the gender wage gap," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 122-133.
    11. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Carballo, Jerónimo & Graziano, Alejandro, 2015. "Customs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 119-137.
    12. Kamal, Fariha & Sundaram, Asha, 2016. "Buyer–seller relationships in international trade: Do your neighbors matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 128-140.
    13. Carballo, Jerónimo & Graziano, Alejandro & Schaur, Georg & Volpe Martincus, Christian, 2016. "The Border Labyrinth: Information Technologies and Trade in the Presence of Multiple Agencies," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7691, Inter-American Development Bank.
    14. Xu, Jianwei & Du, Qingyuan & Wang, Yaqi, 2019. "Two-sided heterogeneity and exchange rate pass-through," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 1-1.
    15. M. Scott Taylor, "undated". "Trade and the Environment: New Methods, Measurements, and Results NBER Working Paper No. 22636," Working Papers 2016-46, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 01 Dec 2016.
    16. Clemence Lenoir & Isabelle Mejean & Julien Martin, 2018. "Search Frictions in International Good Markets," 2018 Meeting Papers 878, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Benguria, Felipe, 2021. "The matching and sorting of exporting and importing firms: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).

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    Keywords

    Buyer Margins; Competition; Market Segmentation; Markups;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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