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Market size, competition and the product mix of exporters

  • Thierry Mayer

    (Sciences-Po
    CEPII
    CEPR)

  • Marc J. Melitz

    (Harvard University
    NBER
    CEPR)

  • Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano

    (Bocconi University
    Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)
    CEPR)

Recent empirical evidence has highlighted how the export patterns of multi-product firms dominate world trade flows, and how these multi-product firms respond to different economic conditions across export markets by varying the number of products they export. In this paper, we further analyze the effects of those export market conditions on the relative export sales of those goods: we refer to this as the firm's product mix choice. We build a theoretical model of multi-product firms that highlights how market size and geography (the market sizes of and bilateral economic distances to trading partners) affects both a firm's exported product range and its exported product mix across market destinations. We show how tougher competition in an export market - associated with a downward shift in the distribution of markups across all products sold in the market - induces a firm to skew its export sales towards its best performing products. We find very strong confirmation of this competitive effect for French exporters across export market destinations. Our theoretical model shows how this effect of export market competition on a firm's product mix then translates into differences in measured firm productivity. Thus, a firm operating a given technology will produce relatively more output per worker when it exports to markets with tougher competition. This productivity gain is further compounded by the effect of competition on the mix of exported products.

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Paper provided by National Bank of Belgium in its series Working Paper Research with number 202.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201010-202
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  1. Iacovone, Leonardo & Javorcik, Beata S., 2008. "Multi-product exporters : diversification and micro-level dynamics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4723, The World Bank.
  2. Andrew.B Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in international trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3682, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2007. "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms New facts based on firm-level evidence," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10147, Sciences Po.
  4. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Costas Arkolakis & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2010. "The Extensive Margin of Exporting Products: A Firm-level Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  7. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  8. Stephen J Redding & Peter K Schott & Andrew B Bernard, 2007. "Multi-product Firms and Trade Liberalization," 2007 Meeting Papers 44, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. James Harrigan & Haiyan Deng, 2008. "China's Local Comparative Advantage," NBER Working Papers 13963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Carsten Eckel & J Peter Neary, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Working Papers 200608, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  11. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 802, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/10147 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2011. "Gravity, market potential and economic development," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 281-294, March.
  14. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2010. "Structural gravity equations with intensive and extensive margins," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(1), pages 41-62, February.
  16. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  17. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00610937 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Jan De Loecker & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit K. Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik, 2012. "Prices, Markups and Trade Reform," Working Papers 1403, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  19. John Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2009. "The Impact of Trade on Plant Scale, Production-Run Length and Diversification," NBER Chapters, in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 557-592 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2006. "Globalization and Endogenous Firm Scope," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-015, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  21. Robert Feenstra & Hong Ma, 2007. "Optimal Choice of Product Scope for Multiproduct Firms under Monopolistic Competition," NBER Working Papers 13703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Gregory Corcos & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion, 2009. "Productivity and Firm Selection: Quantifying the “New” Gains from Trade," Working Papers 2009.115, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  23. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, June.
  24. Paul Allanson & Catia Montagna, 1999. "Multiproduct Firms and Market Structure: An Explorative Application to the Product Life Cycle," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 101, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  25. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Thierry Mayer, . "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 12, November.
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