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Decomposing Firm-level Sales Variation

  • Jakob R. Munch

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Daniel X.

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

We measure the contribution of firm-specific effects to overall sales variation within a destination and find it remarkably low. Our empirical decomposition is structurally motivated by a heterogeneity model of exporting involving destination-specific, firm-specific, and firm-destination-specific latent effects with incidental truncation. We use a highly detailed dataset with exports by products and destinations for all Danish manufacturing firms. We find the contribution of firm-specific heterogeneity to within-destination sales variation varies greatly across HS6 products, and that for the median product it drives 31% of the sales variation. When we remove first-time exports from our sample, the median value increases to 40%, implying that firm-destination-specific effects are most important the first year. We conclude that while firm-specific productivity can account for some of the variation, the majority is explained by firm-destination-specific heterogeneity sources such as firm-destination-specific demand.

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Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 2009-05.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision: Jun 2009
Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:09-05
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  1. Lawless, Martina & Whelan, Karl, 2008. "Where do Firms Export, How Much and Why?," Research Technical Papers 6/RT/08, Central Bank of Ireland.
  2. Francis Kramarz & Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2005. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2005 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Christian Broda & David Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the gains from variety," Staff Reports 180, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Eaton, Jonathan & Eslava, Marcela & Kugler, Maurice & Tybout, James, 2007. "Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence," Working Paper Series rwp07-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
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  10. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning By Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence From Colombia, Mexico, And Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947, August.
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  15. Kuhn, E. & Lavielle, M., 2005. "Maximum likelihood estimation in nonlinear mixed effects models," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 1020-1038, June.
  16. Cramer, J. S., 1987. "Mean and variance of R2 in small and moderate samples," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2-3), pages 253-266, July.
  17. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
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