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Entrepreneurship and the extensive margin in export growth : a microeconomic accounting of Costa Rica's export growth during 1997-2007


  • Lederman, Daniel
  • Rodriguez-Clare, Andres
  • Yi Xu, Daniel


The literature on the correlation between exports and economic development runs deep into the history of economic thought and permeates policy debates. This paper studies the microeconomic structure of export growth in Costa Rica, with special emphasis on the extensive margin of trade, encompassing new exporting firms, new products, and new export markets, as well as the unit values of new versus incumbent products. The data suggest that few new firms survive the test of exporting -- more than 40 percent of firms exit export activities after one year -- and this firm turnover is associated with a steady deterioration of export unit values (prices). Furthermore, most new export products are associated with product switching by incumbent exporting firms. The typical new product introduced by incumbent firms tended to be priced at about 90 percent of the unit values of incumbent products. In contrast, the usual suspected obstacles to export growth, such as the inability of small firms to enter exporting activities or to grow their exports, appear to be important sources of export growth. In fact, the smallest exporting firms experienced the fastest growth in their export values. Some of these results are compared with those from other countries that have been examined in related literature.

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  • Lederman, Daniel & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres & Yi Xu, Daniel, 2010. "Entrepreneurship and the extensive margin in export growth : a microeconomic accounting of Costa Rica's export growth during 1997-2007," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5376, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5376

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
    2. Lederman, Daniel & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Payton, Lucy, 2006. "Export Promotion Agencies: What Works and What Doesn't," CEPR Discussion Papers 5810, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Costas Arkolakis, 2016. "A Unified Theory of Firm Selection and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 89-155.
    4. Ozden, Caglar & Sharma, Gunjan, 2004. "Price effects of preferential market access : the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the apparel sector," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3244, The World Bank.
    5. Juan Carlos Hallak & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2009. "Firms' Exporting Behavior under Quality Constraints," Working Papers 09-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. 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.
    7. Marcus Noland & Howard Pack, 2003. "Industrial Policy in an Era of Globalization: Lessons from Asia," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 358.
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    Economic Theory&Research; Markets and Market Access; Airports and Air Services; Microfinance; Tax Law;

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