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Exports, Borders, Distance, and Plant Size

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  • Thomas J. Holmes
  • John J. Stevens

Abstract

The fact that large manufacturing plants export relatively more than small plants has been at the foundation of much work in the international trade literature. We examine this fact using Census micro data on plant shipments from the Commodity Flow Survey. We show the fact is not entirely an international trade phenomenon; part of it can be accounted for by the effect of distance, distinct from any border effect. Export destinations tend to be further than domestic destinations, and large plants tend to ship further distances even to domestic locations, as compared with small plants. We develop an extension of the Melitz (2003) model and use it to set up an analysis with model interpretations of ratios between large plant and small plant shipments that can be calculated with the data. We obtain a decomposition of the overall ratio into a term that varies with distance, holding fixed the border, and a term that varies with the border, holding fixed the distance. The distance term accounts for more than half of the overall difference.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "Exports, Borders, Distance, and Plant Size," NBER Working Papers 16046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16046
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    Cited by:

    1. Achim Schmillen, 2016. "The Exporter Wage Premium Reconsidered—Destinations, Distances and Linked Employer–Employee Data," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 531-546, May.
    2. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2014. "The Life Cycle of Plants in India and Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1035-1084.
    3. Behrens, Kristian & Mion, Giordano & Murata, Yasusada & Suedekum, Jens, 2017. "Spatial frictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 40-70.
    4. Evgeny Zhelobodko & Sergey Kokovin & Mathieu Parenti & Jacques-François Thisse, 2011. "Monopolistic competition in general equilibrium: Beyond the CES," Working Papers halshs-00566431, HAL.
    5. Yamashita, Nobuaki & Matsuura, Toshiyuki & Nakajima, Kentaro, 2014. "Agglomeration effects of inter-firm backward and forward linkages: Evidence from Japanese manufacturing investment in China," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 24-41.
    6. A. Kerem Cosar & Paul L. E. Grieco & Felix Tintelnot, 2015. "Borders, Geography, and Oligopoly: Evidence from the Wind Turbine Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 623-637, July.
    7. Asier Minondo, 2011. "Exporters of services in Spain," Working Papers 2011R04, Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness.
    8. Evgeny Zhelobodko & Sergey Kokovin & Mathieu Parenti & Jacques‐François Thisse, 2012. "Monopolistic Competition: Beyond the Constant Elasticity of Substitution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2765-2784, November.
    9. Cherniwchan, Jevan, 2017. "Trade liberalization and the environment: Evidence from NAFTA and U.S. manufacturing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 130-149.
    10. Dutz, Mark A., 2013. "Resource reallocation and innovation : converting enterprise risks into opportunities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6534, The World Bank.
    11. Minondo, Asier, 2012. "Trading firms in the Spanish services sector," MPRA Paper 43224, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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