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Trade Complexity and Productivity

  • Gabor Békés

    (Hungarian Academy of Science)

  • Carlo Altomonte

    (AM - Bocconi University, KITeS and FEEM)

We exploit a panel dataset of Hungarian firms merged with product-level trade data for the period 1992-2003 to investigate the relation between firms' trading activities (importing, exporting or both) and productivity. We find important self-selection effects of the most productive firms induced by the existence of heterogeneous sunk costs of trade, for both importers and exporters. We relate these sunk costs of trade to the relationship-specific nature of the trade activities, entailing a certain degree of technological and organizational complexity. We also show that, to the extent that imports and exports are correlated within firms, failing to control for the importing activity leads to overstated average productivity premia of exporters.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2009.62.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2009.62
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  1. Andrew Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Working Papers 07-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Rodrigue, Joel, 2008. "Does the use of imported intermediates increase productivity? Plant-level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 106-118, August.
  3. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
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  7. Keller, Wolfgang & Yeaple, Stephen R, 2009. "Global Production and Trade in the Knowledge Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7175, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  14. repec:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:1:p:245-76 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Trade costs, firms and productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 917-937, July.
  16. Robert Feenstra, 2003. "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Working Papers 986, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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  18. Arndt, Sven W. & Kierzkowski, Henryk (ed.), 2001. "Fragmentation: New Production Patterns in the World Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199243310, July.
  19. Halpern, László & Koren, Miklós & Szeidl, Adam, 2005. "Imports and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
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  23. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity ... for Some Plants," NBER Working Papers 13297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Davide Castellani & Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2008. "Firms in International Trade: Importers and Exporters Heterogeneity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry," LEM Papers Series 2008/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
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