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Export mode, Trade Costs, and Productivity Sorting

  • Ronald B. Davies
  • Tine Jeppesen

In this paper we directly test the proposed productivity hierarchy of direct, indirect and non-exporters using firm-level data from 105 developing and transition countries. Using both regression analysis and propensity score matching, we find strong evidence to suggest that direct exporters are on average more productive than both indirect and non-exporters. However, only the results obtained using regression analysis support a similar ranking between indirect and non-exporters. Furthermore, we test the underlying relationship between source-specific fixed trade costs and the average productivity differences between the three firm-types. We find a significant and positive relation between such costs and the average productivity premium of direct exporters only. While other studies have shown that exports by trade intermediaries increase with destination-specific fixed costs, our results suggest that this is also true for source-specific costs, as an increase in the average productivity of direct exporters indicate that a larger share of less productive direct exporters choose to make use of a trade intermediary as export costs rise.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201225.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201225
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  1. Fergal McCann, 2013. "Indirect Exporters," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 519-535, December.
  2. Fergal Mccann, 2010. "Indirect exporters," Working Papers halshs-00963335, HAL.
  3. Bernard, Andrew B. & Grazzi, Marco & Tomasi, Chiara, 2012. "Intermediaries in International Trade: Direct versus indirect modes of export," CEPR Discussion Papers 8766, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Caliendo, Marco & Kopeinig, Sabine, 2005. "Some Practical Guidance for the Implementation of Propensity Score Matching," IZA Discussion Papers 1588, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2011. "Information costs, networks and intermediation in international trade," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 76, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  6. Jennifer Abel-Koch, 2011. "Firm Size and the Choice of Export Mode," Working Papers 1105, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 29 Mar 2011.
  7. Taye Mengistae & Catherine Pattillo, 2004. "Export Orientation and Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(2), pages 6.
  8. Ahn, JaeBin & Khandelwal, Amit K. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2011. "The role of intermediaries in facilitating trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-85, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Demidova, Svetlana & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2009. "Trade policy under firm-level heterogeneity in a small economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 100-112, June.
  11. Gary Biglaiser, 1993. "Middlemen as Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 212-223, Summer.
  12. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2009. "Trade Intermediation and the Organization of Exporters," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 309/2009, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  13. 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.
  14. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
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