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Exports, borders, distance, and plant size

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  • Thomas J. Holmes
  • John J. Stevens

Abstract

The fact that large manufacturing plants export relatively more than small plants has been at the foundation of much work in the international trade literature. We examine this fact using Census micro data on plant shipments from the Commodity Flow Survey. We show the fact is not entirely an international trade phenomenon; part of it can be accounted for by the effect of distance, distinct from any border effect. Export destinations tend to be further than domestic destinations, and large plants tend to ship further distances even to domestic locations, as compared with small plants. We develop an extension of the Melitz (2003) model and use it to set up an analysis with model interpretations of ratios between large plant and small plant shipments that can be calculated with the data. We obtain a decomposition of the overall ratio into a term that varies with distance, holding fixed the border, and a term that varies with the border, holding fixed the distance. The distance term accounts for more than half of the overall difference.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "Exports, borders, distance, and plant size," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-38, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2010-38
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Large plants and distance to customers
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-09-10 19:07:00

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    Cited by:

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    2. Gervais, Antoine & Jensen, J. Bradford, 2019. "The tradability of services: Geographic concentration and trade costs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 331-350.
    3. Achim Schmillen, 2016. "The Exporter Wage Premium Reconsidered—Destinations, Distances and Linked Employer–Employee Data," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 531-546, May.
    4. Evgeny Zhelobodko & Sergey Kokovin & Mathieu Parenti & Jacques-François Thisse, 2011. "Monopolistic competition in general equilibrium: Beyond the CES," Working Papers halshs-00566431, HAL.
    5. Behrens, Kristian & Mion, Giordano & Murata, Yasusada & Suedekum, Jens, 2017. "Spatial frictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 40-70.
    6. A. Kerem Cosar & Paul L. E. Grieco & Felix Tintelnot, 2015. "Borders, Geography, and Oligopoly: Evidence from the Wind Turbine Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 623-637, July.
    7. Cherniwchan, Jevan, 2017. "Trade liberalization and the environment: Evidence from NAFTA and U.S. manufacturing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 130-149.
    8. Evgeny Zhelobodko & Sergey Kokovin & Mathieu Parenti & Jacques‐François Thisse, 2012. "Monopolistic Competition: Beyond the Constant Elasticity of Substitution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2765-2784, November.
    9. Dutz, Mark A., 2013. "Resource reallocation and innovation : converting enterprise risks into opportunities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6534, The World Bank.
    10. Yamashita, Nobuaki & Matsuura, Toshiyuki & Nakajima, Kentaro, 2014. "Agglomeration effects of inter-firm backward and forward linkages: Evidence from Japanese manufacturing investment in China," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 24-41.
    11. Asier Minondo, 2011. "Exporters of services in Spain," Working Papers 2011R04, Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness.
    12. Gonçalves Júnior, Carlos Alberto & Martins Guilhoto, Joaquim José, 2015. "Productive Structure and Trade Relations: The Case of the Western Border Regions of Paraná State, Brazil," TD NEREUS 9-2015, Núcleo de Economia Regional e Urbana da Universidade de São Paulo (NEREUS).
    13. Minondo, Asier, 2012. "Trading firms in the Spanish services sector," MPRA Paper 43224, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Industrial location; Exports;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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