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Intermediaries in International Trade: Direct versus indirect modes of export

  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • Marco Grazzi
  • Chiara Tomasi

This paper examines the factors that give rise to intermediaries in exporting and explores the implications for trade volumes. Export intermediaries such as wholesalers serve different markets and export different products than manufacturing exporters. In particular, high market-specific fixed costs of exporting, the (lack of) quality of the general contracting environment and product-specific factors play important roles in explaining the existence of export intermediaries. These underlying differences between direct and intermediary exporters have important consequences for trade flows. The ability of export intermediaries to overcome country and product fixed costs means that they can more easily respond along the extensive margin to external shocks. Intermediaries and direct exporters respond differently to exchange rate fluctuations both in terms of the total value of shipments and the number of products exported as well as in terms of prices and quantities. Aggregate exports to destinations with high shares of indirect exports are much less responsive to changes in the real exchange rate than are exports to countries served primarily by direct exporters.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17711.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17711
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  1. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. James E. Rauch & Joel Watson, 2004. "Network Intermediaries in International Trade," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 69-93, 03.
  3. Akerman, Anders, 2010. "A Theory on the Role of Wholesalers in International Trade based on Economies of Scope," Research Papers in Economics 2010:1, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Intra-Firm Trade and Product Contractibility," Working Paper Series WP10-3, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  5. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Wholesalers and Retailers in US Trade," Working Paper Series WP10-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  6. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin, 2011. "Trade intermediation and the organization of exporters," Munich Reprints in Economics 20574, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  10. Antràs, Pol & Costinot, Arnaud, 2010. "Intermediated Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  14. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Wholesalers and Retailers in U.S. Trade (Long Version)," NBER Working Papers 15660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  17. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2005. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," NBER Working Papers 11280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Multiple-Product Firms and Product Switching," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 70-97, March.
  19. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  20. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  21. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
  22. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
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  24. Bernardo S. Blum & Sebastian Claro & Ignatius Horstmann, 2010. "Facts and Figures on Intermediated Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 419-23, May.
  25. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2007. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 370, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  26. Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2012. "A concordance between ten-digit U.S. Harmonized System codes and SIC/NAICS product classes and industries," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  27. 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.
  28. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Jung, Benjamin, 2008. "Trade intermediaries, incomplete contracts, and the choice of export modes," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 317, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
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