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Are Capital Intensive Firms the Biggest Exporters?

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  • Rikard FORSLID
  • OKUBO Toshihiro

Abstract

This paper starts out from the observation that the export shares of firms (export to sales ratio) vary greatly among firms, and tend to be systematically related to the firms' capital labour ratios. This observation cannot be explained by e.g. the standard Melitz model, since it predicts that all exporting firms have identical export shares. In our model, we relate the difference in export shares to firm level differences in transport costs. Two factors influence a firm's transport cost in our model. First, firm scale can affect transportation costs. Second, we allow for an association between the capital intensity of a firm and its transportation costs. As in our data, we assume this relationship to be sector specific. Our model can generate the result that more productive and capital intensive firms have higher export shares due to scale economies in transportation, but the model can also generate the opposite pattern that more capital intensive firms have lower export shares due to a strong positive association between capital labour ratio and transportation costs. We use Japanese manufacturing firm level data to calibrate our model by matching firm level export shares to data sector by sector. Regressing the calibrated transportation costs on actual data then shows that the calibrated (calculated) numbers can explain about half of the variation in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Rikard FORSLID & OKUBO Toshihiro, 2011. "Are Capital Intensive Firms the Biggest Exporters?," Discussion papers 11014, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:11014
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    File URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/jp/publications/dp/11e014.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
    2. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
    3. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1384-1402, December.
    4. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fukunari Kimura & Kozo Kiyota, 2006. "Exports, FDI, and Productivity: Dynamic Evidence from Japanese Firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 142(4), pages 695-719, December.
    6. Limao, Nuno & Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Infrastructure, geographical disadvantage, and transport costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2257, The World Bank.
    7. WAKASUGI Ryuhei & TODO Yasuyuki & SATO Hitoshi & NISHIOKA Shuichiro & MATSUURA Toshiyuki & ITO Banri & TANAKA Ayumu, 2008. "The Internationalization of Japanese Firms: New Findings Based on Firm-Level Data," Discussion papers 08036, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ichiro Tokutsu & Kazuo Ogawa & Mika Saito, 2012. "Japan out of the Lost Decade; Divine Wind or Firms’ Effort?," IMF Working Papers 12/171, International Monetary Fund.
    2. repec:eee:jjieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:39-51 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Christian Volpe Martincus & Juan S. Blyde, 2012. "Shaky Roads and Trembling Exports: Assessing the Trade Effects of Domestic Infrastructure Using a Natural Experiment," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4650, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Xuan Wei & Suzanne Thornsbury & David Schweikhardt, 2017. "Hurdles to Exporting: A Decomposition of Fixed Export Costs," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 7, pages 1-18, February.
    5. OGAWA Kazuo & TOKUTSU Ichiro, 2015. "Productivity, Firm Size, Financial Factors, and Exporting Decisions: The case of Japanese SMEs," Discussion papers 15031, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    6. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Blyde, Juan, 2013. "Shaky roads and trembling exports: Assessing the trade effects of domestic infrastructure using a natural experiment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 148-161.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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