Jamal Ibrahim Haidar, 26 September 2020

The relationship between first-movers and late-movers in export markets has important policy implications. First-movers need to be productive enough to pay market entry costs; in turn, they generate information externalities for late-movers. This column uses a unique disaggregated export-level customs dataset to test whether first-movers outperform late-movers in export markets. Using a variety of specifications and controlling for demand and supply shocks, it shows that, surprisingly, late-movers outperform first-movers. Furthermore, this effect is mainly driven by a differential in export quantities, not prices. 

Natalie Chen, Luciana Juvenal, 01 May 2020

Does price discrimination of exporters depend on trade costs and/or product quality? Using firm-level data, this column investigates how exporters adjust their markups across destinations depending on trade costs – such as tariffs and bilateral distance – and the quality of their exports. The theoretical and empirical evidence shows that exporters raise markups in more distant markets but lower them in countries with higher tariffs. However, the response of markups to changes in trade costs is heterogeneous and smaller in magnitude for higher quality exports.

Natasha Agarwal, Magnus Lodefalk, Majken Stenberg, Aili Tang, Sofia Tano, Zheng Wang, 11 December 2019

Export credit guarantees turned 100 this year, yet they have been sparsely studied. This column examines the causal effects of export credit guarantees on firm performance. It concludes by considering whether the provision of guarantees should be rebalanced in favour of small and medium-sized enterprises and by calling for governments to urgently integrate all major countries into a regulated system for export credit guarantees.

Leonardo Iacovone, Mariana Pereira-López, Marc Schiffbauer, 30 October 2017

In spite of its potential, the use of digital technology is still basic in most developing countries. This column presents evidence that firms in Mexico facing higher external competition have used IT more intensively and efficiently. External competition has encouraged them to make the necessary complementary investments in innovation and organisational changes.

Lionel Fontagné, Gianluca Orefice, 18 December 2016

Regulation is a barrier to trade. This column uses French firm-level panel data to assess how technical barriers to trade impact firms’ exports. In the presence of stringent barriers, exporters balance the cost of complying with this regulation against the fixed cost of entering a new market. Barriers reduce the number of exporting firms in each sector-destination, especially in sectors with many multi-destination firms.

David Atkin, Amit Khandelwal, Adam Osman, 04 December 2014

The WTO’s Aid-for-Trade Initiative, based on the belief that exporting improves the productivity of firms, is meant to bring about growth and reduce poverty. However, we know very little about whether exporting improves firm performance, and if so, through what mechanisms. This column, based on a randomised control trial in Egypt, unravels the channels through which exporting increased the productivity of rug manufacturers.

Jerónimo Carballo, Christian Volpe, Ana Cusolito, 13 July 2013

Expanding road infrastructure is often justified on the basis of its presumed effects on exports. Yet, available evidence on to what extent these effects really materialise is very limited due to difficulties faced in convincingly identifying true casual relationships. Historical road networks can help overcome this endogeneity challenge. This column provides evidence for Peru based on the Inca road network and suggests that improvements in road infrastructure have had a significant impact on firms’ exports and thereby on job creation.

Carlo Altomonte, Gábor Békés, 19 November 2010

The export performance of domestic firms is at the centre of many policy debates on growth and development. This column argues that in a world with global value chains and vertical specialisation, competitiveness also derives from a proper integration into international networks of production. Policymakers should care about both the import and the export capacity of their firms, and the complexity of these activities.

CEPR Policy Research