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Intermediaries in International Trade: direct versus indirect modes of export

  • Andrew B. Bernard
  • Marco Grazzi
  • Chiara Tomasi

This paper contributes to the relatively new literature on the role of intermediaries in international trade. Using Italian firm-level data, we document significant differences between exporters of different types and highlight the role of country-specific fixed cost in the choice of direct versus indirect modes of export. Recent theoretical work suggests that intermediaries are typically providing solutions to country-specific fixed costs. Our empirical results largely confirm this relationship. Measures of country fixed costs are positively associated with intermediary exports both in the aggregate and within firms. In contrast, proxies for variable trade costs are largely not correlated with differences between direct and indirect exports.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2010/19.

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Date of creation: 10 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2010/19
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  1. 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.
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  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  4. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  8. 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.
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  13. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
  14. Francis Kramarz & Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2005. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," 2005 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Shang-Jin Wei & Jaebin Ahn & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2010. "The Role of Intermediaries in Facilitating Trade," Working Papers id:2557, eSocialSciences.
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  17. 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.
  18. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2007. "Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 370, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  19. Justin Pierce & Peter Schott, 2009. "A Concordance Between Ten-Digit U.S. Harmonized System Codes and SIC/NAICS Product Classes and Industries," Working Papers 09-41, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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  27. 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.
  28. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Wholesalers and Retailers in US Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 408-13, May.
  29. 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.
  30. 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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