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Intermediation in Foreign Trade: When Do Exporters Rely on Intermediaries?

  • Philipp J. H. Schröder
  • Harald Trabold
  • Parvati Trübswetter

The paper explores theoretically and empirically why trade intermediaries (TIs) are frequently used as agents for exports to some countries but not to others. We adapt a standard intra-industry trade model with variable export costs (e.g. transport) and fixed export costs (e.g. market access) to include a TI that is able to pool market access cost. From this framework explanatory factors for the TI share in a country's exports are derived and subsequently tested with a new data set based on French customs information. The paper finds that: (i) higher market access costs increase the TI share, (ii) smaller export markets feature a larger TI share, (iii) the TI share is independent from variable (distance-dependent) export costs.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.40234.de/dp336.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 336.

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Length: 20 p.
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp336
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  1. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 1999. "Ethnic Chinese Networks in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hsing, You-tien, 1999. "Trading companies in Taiwan's fashion shoe networks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 101-120, June.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Hackett, Steven C., 1992. "A comparative analysis of merchant and broker intermediation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 299-315, August.
  5. Spence, Michael, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 217-35, June.
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  7. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  8. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, S.J., 1999. "Insecurity and the Pattern of Trade: An Empirical Investigation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 418, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 03 Aug 2000.
  9. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-73, October.
  10. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  11. Daniel F. Spulber, 1996. "Market Microstructure and Intermediation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 135-152, Summer.
  12. Baye, Michael R & Cosimano, Thomas F, 1990. "Choosing Sides in Matching Games: Nash Equilibria and Comparative Statics," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 57(227), pages 283-93, August.
  13. Venables, Anthony J, 1987. "Trade and Trade Policy with Differentiated Products: A Chamberlinian-Ricardian Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 700-717, September.
  14. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Anthony Venables, 1994. "Integration and the export behaviour of firms: Trade costs, trade volumes and welfare," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 118-132, March.
  16. Zhihao Yu, 2002. "Entrepreneurship and intra-industry trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 138(2), pages 277-290, June.
  17. Mike W Peng & Anne Y Ilinitch, 1998. "Export Intermediary Firms: A Note on Export Development Research," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 29(3), pages 609-620, September.
  18. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "How Far Will International Economic Integration Go?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 177-186, Winter.
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