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Global Firms

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Listed:
  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • J. Bradford Jensen
  • Stephen J. Redding
  • Peter K. Schott

Abstract

Research in international trade has changed dramatically over the last twenty years, as attention has shifted from countries and industries towards the firms actually engaged in international trade. The now-standard heterogeneous firm model posits measure zero firms that compete under monopolistic competition and decide whether to export to foreign markets. However, much of international trade is dominated by a few “global firms,” which participate in the international economy along multiple margins and account for substantial shares of aggregate trade. We develop a new theoretical framework that allows firms to have large market shares and to decide simultaneously on the set of production locations, export markets, input sources, products to export, and inputs to import. Using U.S. firm and trade transactions data, we provide strong evidence in support of this framework's main predictions of interdependencies and complementarities between these margins of firm international participation. Global firms participate more intensively along each margin, magnifying the impact of underlying differences in firm characteristics, and increasing their shares of aggregate trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2016. "Global Firms," NBER Working Papers 22727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22727
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm

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