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Power Laws in Firm Size and Openness to Trade: Measurement and Implications

Author

Listed:
  • Julian di Giovanni

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Andrei A. Levchenko

    (University of Michigan)

  • Romain Ranciere

    (International Monetary Fund, PSE and CEPR)

Abstract

Existing estimates of power laws in firm size typically ignore the impact of international trade. Using a simple theoretical framework, we show that international trade systematically affects the distribution of firm size: the power law exponent among exporting firms should be strictly lower in absolute value than the power law exponent among non-exporting firms. We use a dataset of French firms to demonstrate that this prediction is strongly supported by the data. While estimates of power law exponents have been used to pin down parameters in theoretical and quantitative models, our analysis implies that the existing estimates are systematically lower than the true values. We propose two simple ways of estimating power law parameters that take explicit account of exporting behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko & Romain Ranciere, 2010. "Power Laws in Firm Size and Openness to Trade: Measurement and Implications," Working Papers 598, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:598
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    File URL: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers576-600/r598.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrei A. Levchenko & Julian di Giovanni, 2009. "International Trade and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," 2009 Meeting Papers 491, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Francisco J. Buera & Yongseok Shin, 2013. "Financial Frictions and the Persistence of History: A Quantitative Exploration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 221-272.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm Size Distribution; International Trade; Power Laws;
    All these keywords.

    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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