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Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade

  • Costas Arkolakis

I develop a new theory of marketing costs and introduce it into a model of trade with product differentiation and firm productivity heterogeneity. In this model, a firm enters a market if it makes profits by reaching a single consumer there and pays an increasing marginal cost to access additional consumers. This market penetration cost introduces an extensive margin of new consumers in firms' sales. I calibrate the key parameters of the model to match data on French firms from Eaton, Kortum and Kramarz, in particular the higher sales in France of firms that choose to export to more destinations. The model predicts that most firms do not export, and that a large proportion of firms that export in particular markets do so in small amounts. These predictions are in line with the French data, but together create a puzzle for models with a fixed cost of exporting, such as those of Melitz and Chaney. Looking at the comparative statics of trade liberalization, I find that the model predicts large increases in trade in goods with positive but little previous trade, in line with Kehoe and Ruhl. The model implies that these increases can contribute to new trade significantly more than the corresponding increases due to new exporters.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14214.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14214
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  2. Costas Arkolakis & Svetlana Demidova & Peter J. Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2008. "Endogenous Variety and the Gains from Trade," NBER Working Papers 13933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1998, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  12. Aw, Bee Yan & Chung, Sukkyun & Roberts, Mark J, 2000. "Productivity and Turnover in the Export Market: Micro-level Evidence from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China)," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 65-90, January.
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