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Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence

  • Eaton, Jonathan

    (New York U)

  • Eslava, Marcela

    (Universidad de Los Andes)

  • Kugler, Maurice

    (Harvard U)

  • Tybout, James

    (Pennsylvania State U)

Using transactions-level customs data from Colombia, we study firm-specific export patterns over the period 1996-2005. Our data allow us to track firms' entry and exit into and out of individual destination markets, as well as their revenues from selling there. We find that, in a typical year, nearly half of all Colombian exporters were not exporters in the previous year. These new exporters tend to be extremely small in terms of their overall contribution to export revenues, and most do not continue exporting in the following year. Hence export sales are dominated by a small number of very large and stable exporters. Nonetheless, out of each cohort of new exporters, a fraction of firms go on to expand their foreign sales very rapidly, and over the period of less than a decade, these successful new exporters account for almost half of total export expansion. Finally, we find that new exporters begin in a single foreign market and, if they survive, gradually expand into additional destinations. The geographic expansion paths they follow, and their likelihood of survival as exporters, depend on their initial destination market.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp07-050.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp07-050
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  1. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J Bradford & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 150-154, May.
  3. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  5. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2001. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 8629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144, 08.
  10. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "Learning-by-Exporting" Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," NBER Working Papers 5715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. James E. Rauch & Joel Watson, 1999. "Starting Small in an Unfamiliar Environment," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1218, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. Tibor Besedes, . "A Search Cost Perspective on Duration of Trade," Departmental Working Papers 2006-12, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  14. Marcela Eslava & John Haltiwanger & Adriana Kugler & Maurice Kugler, 2004. "The Effects of Structural Reforms on Productivity and Profitability Enhancing Reallocation: Evidence from Colombia," Working Papers 134, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  15. Maurice Kugler, 2006. "Spillovers From Foreign Direct Investment:Within Or Between Industries?," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 003523, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  16. Luca David Opromolla & Alfonso Irarrazabal, 2005. "Hysteresis in Export Markets," International Trade 0512003, EconWPA.
  17. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  19. Brooks, Eileen L., 2006. "Why don't firms export more? Product quality and Colombian plants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 160-178, June.
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