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The Role of Extensive and Intensive Margins and Export Growth

  • Tibor Besedes
  • Thomas J. Prusa

We investigate and compare countries' export growth based on their performance at the extensive and intensive export margins. Our empirical approach is motivated by an extension to the Melitz (2003) model of heterogeneous firms in which exporters are subject to a one-time sunk cost and also a per-period fixed cost. With imperfect information a firm may enter export markets but shortly exit when it learns its per- period fixed costs. We apply this insight to disaggregated export data and confirm that indeed most export relationships are very short lived. We then show that the survival issue is a significant factor in explaining differences in long run export performance. We find that developing countries would experience significantly higher export growth if they were able to improve their performance with respect to the two key components of the intensive margin: survival and deepening.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13628.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Besedes, Tibor & Prusa, Thomas J., 2011. "The role of extensive and intensive margins and export growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 371-379, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13628
Note: ITI
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  1. Rubén Segura-Cayuela & Josep M. Vilarrubia, 2008. "Uncertainty and entry into export markets," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0811, Banco de Espa�a.
  2. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "Economic Development as Self-Discovery," Working Paper Series rwp02-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nitsch, Volker, 2008. "Die another day: duration in German import trade," Discussion Papers 2008/17, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  5. repec:lmu:muenar:20646 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
  7. Cadot, Olivier & Iacovone, Leonardo & Pierola, Martha Denisse & Rauch, Ferdinand, 2013. "Success and failure of African exporters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 284-296.
  8. Bernard, Andrew B. & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2004. "Comparative Advantage and Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Kohler, Wilhelm K., 2006. "Exploring the intensive and extensive margins of world trade," Munich Reprints in Economics 20610, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Besedes, Tibor & Prusa, Thomas J., 2006. "Product differentiation and duration of US import trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 339-358, December.
  13. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2009. "How important is the new goods margin in international trade?," Staff Report 324, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  15. Tibor Besedes & Thomas Prusa, 2006. "Ins, outs, and the duration of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 266-295, February.
  16. repec:pse:psecon:2009-35 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Debaere, Peter & Mostashari, Shalah, 2010. "Do tariffs matter for the extensive margin of international trade? An empirical analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 163-169, July.
  18. Mélise Jaud & Madina Kukenova & Martin Strieborny, 2009. "Financial dependence and intensive margin of trade," PSE Working Papers halshs-00575005, HAL.
  19. Paul Brenton & Christian Saborowski & Erik von Uexkull, 2010. "What Explains the Low Survival Rate of Developing Country Export Flows?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(3), pages 474-499, December.
  20. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and Trade Dynamics," 2008 Meeting Papers 548, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Freund, Caroline & Pierola, Martha Denisse, 2010. "Export entrepreneurs : evidence from Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5407, The World Bank.
  22. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00575005 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Josep M Vilarrubia & Rubén Segura-Cayuela, 2008. "Uncertainty and entry into export markets," 2008 Meeting Papers 661, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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