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The buyer margins of firms' exports

  • Jerónimo Carballo
  • Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano
  • Christian Volpe Martincus

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.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/51578/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 51578.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:51578
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  12. Jonathan Eaton, Marcela Eslava, Maurice Kugler,James Tybout, 1970. "Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence," Working Papers eg0036, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 1970.
  13. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Bernard, Andrew B. & Moxnes, Andreas & Ulltveit-Moe, Karen-Helene, 2013. "Two-sided Heterogeneity and Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 9681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  28. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2009. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," NBER Working Papers 15342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Bernardo S. Blum & Sebastian Claro & Ignatius Horstmann, 2010. "Facts and Figures on Intermediated Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 419-23, May.
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