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Learning and the Value of Trade Relationships

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Abstract

This paper quantifies the value of importer-exporter relationships. We show that almost 80 percent of U.S. imports take place in pre-existing relationships, with sizable heterogeneity across countries, and show that traded quantities and survival increase as relationships age. We develop a two-country general equilibrium trade model with learning that is consistent with these facts. A model-based measure of relationship value explains survival during the 2008-09 crisis. Knowledge accumulated within long-term relationships is quantitatively important: wiping out all memory from previous interactions, on average, reduces consumption by 5 percent on impact and by 48 percent over the transition back to steady state.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan Monarch & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 2017. "Learning and the Value of Trade Relationships," International Finance Discussion Papers 1218, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1218
    DOI: 10.17016/IFDP.2017.1218
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ryan Monarch, 2014. ""It's Not You, It's Me": Breakup In U.S.-China Trade Relationships," Working Papers 14-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Araujo, Luis & Mion, Giordano & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2016. "Institutions and export dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 2-20.
    3. Rocco Macchiavello & Ameet Morjaria, 2015. "The Value of Relationships: Evidence from a Supply Shock to Kenyan Rose Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(9), pages 2911-2945, September.
    4. Alessandria, George & Choi, Horag & Ruhl, Kim J., 2021. "Trade adjustment dynamics and the welfare gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    5. Paulo Bastos & Daniel A. Dias & Olga A. Timoshenko, 2018. "Learning, prices and firm dynamics," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(4), pages 1257-1311, November.
    6. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    7. Alvarez, Fernando & Lucas, Robert Jr., 2007. "General equilibrium analysis of the Eaton-Kortum model of international trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1726-1768, September.
    8. Bernard, Andrew B. & Massari, Renzo & Reyes, Jose-Daniel & Taglioni, Daria, 2013. "Exporter dynamics, firm size and growth, and partial year effects," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6711, The World Bank.
    9. Sebastian Heise, 2016. "Firm-to-Firm Relationships and Price Rigidity - Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6226, CESifo.
    10. Costas Arkolakis & Theodore Papageorgiou & Olga Timoshenko, 2018. "Firm Learning and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 27, pages 146-168, January.
    11. Kamal, Fariha & Sundaram, Asha, 2016. "Buyer–seller relationships in international trade: Do your neighbors matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 128-140.
    12. Timoshenko, Olga A., 2015. "Learning versus sunk costs explanations of export persistence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 113-128.
    13. Tibor Besedeš, 2008. "A Search Cost Perspective on Formation and Duration of Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 835-849, November.
    14. Egan, Mary Lou & Mody, Ashoka, 1992. "Buyer-seller links in export development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 321-334, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Krolikowski, Pawel M. & McCallum, Andrew H., 2021. "Goods-market frictions and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    2. Sebastian Heise, 2016. "Firm-to-Firm Relationships and Price Rigidity - Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6226, CESifo.
    3. Carballo, Jeronimo & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Volpe Martincus, Christian, 2018. "The buyer margins of firms' exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 33-49.
    4. Fariha Kamal & Ryan Monarch, 2018. "Identifying foreign suppliers in U.S. import data," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 117-139, February.
    5. Ryan Monarch, 2014. ""It's Not You, It's Me": Breakup In U.S.-China Trade Relationships," Working Papers 14-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Niepmann, Friederike & Schmidt-Eisenlohr, Tim, 2017. "No guarantees, no trade: How banks affect export patterns," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 338-350.
    7. Fariha Kamal & Ryan Monarch, 2018. "Identifying foreign suppliers in U.S. import data," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 117-139, February.
    8. Cajal-Grossi, Julia & Macchiavello, Rocco & Noguera, Guillermo, 2019. "International buyers' sourcing and suppliers markups in Bangladeshi garments," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102612, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Egger, Peter H. & Erhardt, Katharina & Lassmann, Andrea, 2019. "Immigration and firms’ integration in international production networks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 1-34.
    10. Alvaro Garcia-Marin & Santiago Justel & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 2019. "Trade Credit and Markups," 2019 Meeting Papers 254, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Alvaro Garcia-Marin & Santiago Justel & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 2019. "Trade Credit, Markups, and Relationships," CESifo Working Paper Series 7600, CESifo.
    12. Michael Devereux & Wei Dong & Ben Tomlin, 2019. "Trade Flows and Exchange Rates: Importers, Exporters and Products," Staff Working Papers 19-41, Bank of Canada.
    13. Carballo, Jerónimo & Schaur, Georg & Volpe Martincus, Christian, 2016. "Posts as Trade Facilitators," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7681, Inter-American Development Bank.
    14. Jie Bai & Maggie Chen & Daniel Xu, 2018. "Search and Information Frictions on Global E-Commerce Platforms: Evidence from Aliexpress," Working Papers 18-17, NET Institute.
    15. Carter Mix, 2020. "Technology, Geography, and Trade over Time: The Dynamic Effects of Changing Trade Policy," International Finance Discussion Papers 1304, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International Trade; Firm Relationships; Learning; Trade Dynamics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis

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