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On the Duration of Trade


  • Tibor Besedes
  • Thomas J. Prusa


This paper employs survival analysis to study the duration of US imports. We find that the median duration of exporting a product to the US is very short, on the order to two to four years. Our results also indicate that there is negative duration dependence meaning that if a country is able to survive in the exporting market for the first few years it will face a very small probability of failure and will export the product for a long period of time. This result holds across countries and industries. We find that our results are not only robust to aggregation but are strengthened by aggregation. That is, as we aggregate from product level trade data to SITC industry level trade data the estimated survival increases. We rank countries by their survival experience and show that our rankings are strongly correlated with the rankings in Feenstra and Rose (2002), implying that product cycle followers also experience particularly short duration.

Suggested Citation

  • Tibor Besedes & Thomas J. Prusa, 2003. "On the Duration of Trade," NBER Working Papers 9936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9936
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Redding, Stephen, 2002. "Specialization dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 299-334, December.
    2. Robert C. Feenstra, 1996. "U.S. Imports, 1972-1994: Data and Concordances," NBER Working Papers 5515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Marcus Asplund & Volker Nocke, 2003. "Firm Turnover in Imperfectly Competitive Markets," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    4. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    5. Pakes, Ariel & Ericson, Richard, 1998. "Empirical Implications of Alternative Models of Firm Dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-45, March.
    6. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    7. Gagnon, Joseph E & Rose, Andrew K, 1995. "Dynamic Persistence of Industry Trade Balances: How Pervasive Is the Product Cycle?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 229-248, April.
    8. Robert C. Feenstra & Andrew K. Rose, 2000. "Putting Things In Order: Trade Dynamics And Product Cycles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 369-382, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deborah Swenson, 2005. "Outsourcing Price Decisions: Evidence from U.S. 9802 Imports," NBER Working Papers 11184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Albornoz, Facundo & Calvo Pardo, Héctor F. & Corcos, Gregory & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2012. "Sequential exporting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 17-31.
    3. Swenson, Deborah L., 2005. "Overseas assembly and country sourcing choices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 107-130, May.
    4. Deborah L. Swenson, 2007. "Competition and the location of overseas assembly," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(1), pages 155-175, February.
    5. Echazu, Luciana, 2009. "Product differentiation, firm heterogeneity and international trade: Exploring the Alchian-Allen effect," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 95-101, June.
    6. Stirbat, Liviu & Record, Richard & Nghardsaysone, Konesawang, 2013. "Determinants of export survival in the Lao PDR," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6301, The World Bank.
    7. Jonathan Eaton, Marcela Eslava, Maurice Kugler,James Tybout, 1970. "Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence," Working Papers eg0036, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 1970.
    8. Tibor Besedes & Thomas J. Prusa, 2004. "Surviving the U.S. Import Market: The Role of Product Differentiation," NBER Working Papers 10319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ana Fernandes & Heiwai Tang, 2012. "Learning from Neighbors’ Export Activities: Evidence from Exporters’ Survival," Development Working Papers 337, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 16 Jul 2012.
    10. Ayako Obashi, 2011. "Resiliency of production networks in Asia: Evidence from the Asian crisis," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT,in: Trade-led growth: A sound strategy for Asia, chapter 3 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
    11. Tibor Besedeš, 2013. "The Role of NAFTA and Returns to Scale in Export Duration," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 59(2), pages 306-336, June.
    12. Dick Nuwamanya Kamuganga, 2012. "The Linkage between Outcome Differences in Cotton Production and Rural Roads Improvements - A Matching Approach," IHEID Working Papers 15-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    13. Changchun Hua & Douglas H. Brooks, 2010. "Asian Trade and Global Linkages," Working Papers id:3094, eSocialSciences.
    14. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F19 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Other

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