nep-int New Economics Papers
on International Trade
Issue of 2010‒09‒18
twenty-two papers chosen by
Alessia A. Amighini
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. Exploring the Duration of EU Imports By Hess, Wolfgang; Persson, Maria
  2. Completing the EU Customs Union. The Effects of Trade Procedure Harmonization By Persson, Maria; Bourdet, Yves
  3. The Impact of Trade and Outsourcing on Skilled and Unskilled Labour in France* By Esther Tsafack; Jaai Parasnis
  4. Trade, Firm selection, and innovation: the competition channel By Giammario Impullitti; Omar Licandro
  5. Consumer Heterogeneity and the Impact of Trade Liberalization: How Representative is the Representative Agent Framework? By Auer, Raphael
  6. The Post-Entry Performance of Cohorts of Export Starters in German Manufacturing Industries By Wagner, Joachim
  7. On zero and asymmetric trade flows By Toshihiro Okubo; Pierre M. Picard; Jacques-François Thisse
  8. Do managers and experts agree? A comparison of alternative sources of trade facilitation data By Alberto Behar
  9. Has the Euro Increased International Price Elasticities? By Oliver Holtemöller; Götz Zeddies
  10. Self-selection into export markets by business services firms – Evidence from France, Germany and the United Kingdom By Yama Temouri; Alexander Vogel; Joachim Wagner
  11. Intra-regional trade between China, Japan, and Korea : before and after the financial crisis By Kuroiwa, Ikuo; Ozeki, Hiromichi
  12. "Product Complexity and Economic Development" By Arnelyn Abdon; Marife Bacate; Jesus Felipe; Utsav Kumar
  13. The determinants of offshore production by Multinational Corporations (MNCs) : a comparison of Japanese and US MNCs By Matsuura, Toshiyuki; Tanaka, Kiyoyasu; Urata, Shujiro
  14. Malaysia’s Outward FDI: The Effects of Host Market Size and Home Government Policy By Soo Khoon Goh; Koi Nyen Wong
  15. From Estimation Results to Stylized Facts: Twelve Recommendations for Empirical Research in International Activities of Heterogeneous Firms By Wagner, Joachim
  16. Poverty Impacts of Preferential and Multilateral Trade Liberalization on the Philippines: a Computable General Equilibrium Analysis By Erwing L. Corong; Rachel C. Reyes; Angelo B. Taningco
  17. Product Switching and Firm Performance in Japan By KAWAKAMI Atsushi; MIYAGAWA Tsutomu
  18. The Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Unskilled Immigration into U.S. States By Simpson, Nicole B.; Sparber, Chad
  19. North-South Trade and the Non-Neutrality of International Money By Wenli Cheng; Dingsheng Zhang
  20. "Exaggerated Death of Distance, Revisiting Distance Effects on Regional Price Dispersions" By Kazuko Kano; Takashi Kano; Kazutaka Takechi
  21. Microeconomic consequences and macroeconomic causes of foreign direct investment in southern African economies By Lederman, Daniel; Mengistae, Taye; Xu, Lixin Colin
  22. NAFTA, Trade, and Development By Blecker, Robert A.; Esquivel, Gerardo

  1. By: Hess, Wolfgang (Lund Unversity); Persson, Maria (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is twofold. First, against the background of an existing empirical literature on the duration of trade which has found that international trade is often of strikingly short duration, we aim to establish whether or not EU imports from the rest of the world also are short-lived. Second, since there is at this point no clear commonly accepted theoretical explanation for these short trade durations, we seek to provide a thorough empirical description and analysis of the phenomenon, with the intention of thereby facilitating theoretical developments on the subject. We employ a rich data set of detailed imports to the EU15 countries from 140 exporters, covering the time period 1962-2006. Using these data, we begin by conducting a thorough descriptive analysis of the duration of EU imports. Thereafter, we perform a regression analysis using discrete-time duration models with proper controls for unobserved heterogeneity. We draw the conclusion that EU imports are indeed very short-lived – in fact, possibly more so than, for example, US imports. The median duration of EU imports is for example merely one year, and almost 60 percent of all spells cease during the first year of service. Among our empirical findings are (i) that the duration of trade remains stable across the long time period that we study; (ii) that short trade durations are the result of at least two processes: countries shifting between different suppliers but continuing to import a given product, and countries ceasing to import the product altogether; and (iii) that countries with a diversified export structure also will tend to have more long-lived export flows. In our formal regression, we are also able to find a set of explanatory variables that have statistically significant effects on the probability that trade flows die.
    Keywords: Duration of Trade; Survival; European Union; Discrete-Time Hazard Models
    JEL: C41 F10 F14
    Date: 2010–08–24
  2. By: Persson, Maria (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Bourdet, Yves (Lund University)
    Abstract: A main component of customs unions is a common trade policy on imports from non-member countries. Trade policy covers both tariff and non-tariff barriers like trade procedures. We argue that since trade procedures vary markedly across EU countries, the EU is not, strictly speaking, a customs union. To illustrate this, we estimate the impact of trade procedures on exports from non-EU countries and find a highly statistically significant and negative effect. Simulating what the effects would be of harmonizing trade procedures, i.e. to actually complete the EU customs union, we find that aggregated exports to the EU would increase by 20 percent for the average exporter.
    Keywords: Customs Union; Economic Integration; European Union; Time Delays; Trade Facilitation; Trade Procedures
    JEL: C23 F15 O24
    Date: 2010–08–24
  3. By: Esther Tsafack; Jaai Parasnis
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of trade and outsourcing on demand for labour in France, including the role of exports. We analyse the impact of outsourcing - imported inputs - on unskilled labour in manufacturing industry during 1990-2002 and find that outsourcing has a significant negative effect on the relative demand for unskilled labour. This could be potentially mitigated by exports in manufacturing, which are found to increase the demand for unskilled labour. Our analysis of economy- wide impact of trade over 1970-2003 finds that imported goods and services, as well as total exports, contribute to the skilled-unskilled differential by increasing the demand for skilled labour. These trade variables, however, have no statistically significant impact on the demand for unskilled labour.
    Keywords: International trade, outsourcing, skill differentials, production theory
    JEL: J31 F14
    Date: 2010–05
  4. By: Giammario Impullitti; Omar Licandro
    Abstract: The availability of rich firm-level data sets has recently led researchers to uncover new evidence on the effects of trade liberalization. First, trade openness forces the least productive firms to exit the market. Secondly, it induces surviving firms to increase their innovation efforts and thirdly, it increases the degree of product market competition. In this paper we propose a model aimed at providing a coherent interpretation of these findings. We introducing firm heterogeneity into an innovation-driven growth model, where incumbent firms operating in oligopolistic industries perform cost-reducing innovations. In this framework, trade liberalization leads to higher product market competition, lower markups and higher quantity produced. These changes in markups and quantities, in turn, promote innovation and productivity growth through a direct competition effect, based on the increase in the size of the market, and a selection effect, produced by the reallocation of resources towards more productive firms. Calibrated to match US aggregate and firm-level statistics, the model predicts that a 10 percent reduction in variable trade costs reduces markups by 1:15 percent, firm surviving probabilities by 1 percent, and induces an increase in productivity growth of about 13 percent. More than 90 percent of the trade-induced growth increase can be attributed to the selection effect.
    Keywords: International Trade, Trade Liberalization, Heterogeneous Firms, Endogenous Market Structure, Productivity Growth, Endogenous Growth.
    JEL: F12 F13 O31 O41
    Date: 2010–09–01
  5. By: Auer, Raphael (Swiss National Bank)
    Abstract: While it is well established that across-country taste differences are associated with "home market effects", there is very limited analysis of how such preference heterogeneity impacts the aggregate volume of trade and the welfare gains from liberalization. I develop a structural model of aggregate demand featuring products with heterogeneous attributes, consumers with heterogeneous tastes for attributes, and across-country differences in the distribution of tastes. The impact of across-country taste differences depends on whether the domestic industry can adjust to the mismatch between the attribute composition of imports and the domestic distribution of tastes. For the case of a large degree of across-country taste differences, countries specialize completely and the model supports notions along the lines of Linder (1961) that taste diversity impedes the volume of trade and leads to group-specific gains from trade. In contrast, if specialization is incomplete, free firm entry implies that the relative toughness of competition across different market segments must be invariant to liberalization. It is shown that therefore, both trade volume and welfare gains are entirely unaffected by the distribution of foreign tastes and coincide with those in a representative agent framework.
    Keywords: Intra-Industry Trade; Monopolistic Competition; Heterogeneous Agents; Industrial Structure; Firm Dynamics
    JEL: F12 F15 L15 L16
    Date: 2010–08–30
  6. By: Wagner, Joachim (Leuphana University Lüneburg)
    Abstract: This paper investigates four cohorts of firms from German manufacturing industries that started to export in the years between 1998 and 2002 and follows them over the five years after the start. Export starters are a rare species and they are small on average compared to incumbent exporters. Between 30 percent and 40 percent of the starters became continuous exporters; some starters stepped out and back into exporting, many of them more than once. The share of total exports contributed by export starters of a cohort is tiny in the start year, and it remains so over the years to follow, although those starters that were exporters in year t+5 had a share of exports in total sales that was more than twice as high as the average share of exports in total sales among the export starters of the same cohort in year t. Contrary to the market selection hypothesis there is no evidence that productivity in the start year is systematically related to survival in the export market. There is no evidence for a negative impact of a smaller firm size in the start year on the chance to survive on the export market. Starting with a higher share of exports in total sales, however, tends to increase the probability to stay on the export market.
    Keywords: export starters, post-entry performance, Germany, enterprise panel data
    JEL: F14
    Date: 2010–09
  7. By: Toshihiro Okubo (Kobe University); Pierre M. Picard (CREA, University of Luxembourg); Jacques-François Thisse (CREA, University of Luxembourg; Université Catholique de Louvain; CEPR)
    Abstract: In this paper we study how the trade costs and the intensity of competition can explain the existence of bilateral trade, unilateral trade and no trade within an industry. We show as trade costs decrease from very high to very low values, the global economy moves from autarky to a regime of bilateral trade, through a regime of unilateral trade from the larger to the smaller country. Bilateral or unilateral trade is less likely when the global economy gets more competitive. Finally, the market delivers an outcome in which capital is too much concentrated in the larger country.
    Keywords: trade regime; country asymmetry; capital mobility
    JEL: F12 H22 H87 R12
    Date: 2010
  8. By: Alberto Behar
    Abstract: This paper constructs country-level aggregates of trade facilitation measures from firm-level responses in the Enterprise Surveys and compares them with the Doing Business indicators, the Logistics Performance Index and the Enabling Trade Index. Correlations between the data sources are low even for very specific and similar questions. We also use the Enterprise Surveys to distinguish between within-country inter-firm variation and between-country variation, finding that the latter accounts for only a quarter of the total. For the purposes of identifying where reform is needed and estimating the relationship between trade facilitation and exports, these findings raise the issue of which form of variation is more informative and which data source is more reliable.
    Keywords: Trade facilitation, Enterprise Surveys, Logistics Performance Index, Doing Business, Enabling Trade Index, Gravity models, Firm heterogeneity
    JEL: F1 N70 O24
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Oliver Holtemöller; Götz Zeddies
    Abstract: The introduction of the Euro has been accompanied by the hope that intra-EMU trade would increase and that prices would converge due to increased elasticities of international substitution. This paper contributes to the literature on the Euro’s effects on international trade by analyzing price elasticities in international trade flows between Germany and France and between Germany and the United Kingdom before and after the introduction of the Euro. Using disaggregated Eurostat trade statistics for up to 715 product categories, we adopt a heterogeneous dynamic panel framework for the estimation of price elasticities. We suggest a Kalman-filter approach to control for unobservable quality changes which otherwise would bias estimates of price elasticities. This approach delivers reasonable estimates of price elasticities for a broad set of products. Furthermore, we divide the complete sample, which ranges from 1995 to 2008, into two sub-samples and show that the hypothesis that price elasticities in trade between EMU members did not change substantially after the introduction of the Euro cannot be rejected. This result is robust with respect to changes in the estimation technique.
    Date: 2010–09
  10. By: Yama Temouri (Aston Business School); Alexander Vogel (Institute of Economics, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany); Joachim Wagner (Institute of Economics, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany)
    Abstract: This study reports results from an empirical investigation of business services sector firms that (start to) export, comparing exporters to firms that serve the national market only. We estimate identically specified empirical models using comparable enterprise level data from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Exporters are more productive and pay higher wages on average in all three countries. Results for profitability differ across borders – profitability of exporters is significantly smaller in Germany, significantly larger in France, and does not differ significantly in the UK. The results for wages and productivity hold in the years before the export start, which indicates self-selection into exporting of more productive services firms that pay higher wages. The surprising finding of self-selection of less profitable German business services firms into exporting does not show up among firms from France and the UK where no statistically significant relationship between profitability and starting to export is found.
    Keywords: Business services firms, exports, self-selection, France, Germany, UK
    JEL: F14 D21 L80
    Date: 2010–08
  11. By: Kuroiwa, Ikuo; Ozeki, Hiromichi
    Abstract: East Asian economies have been heavily dependent on the U.S. and EU markets, especially for the export of final goods. Therefore, once the financial crisis hit Western economies hard, the East Asian economies lost their major markets. Their production networks then worked to the region's disadvantage and stifled industrial development. This reflects the vulnerability of the East Asian economies which have adopted an export-led growth strategy. Such vulnerability needs to be addressed to prevent future economic crises, as well as to sustain economic growth. This paper examines the trade structure of the three countries-China, Japan, and Korea-before and after the Lehman Shock, and discusses how the three countries should cooperate in addressing imbalances in the trade structure.
    Keywords: East Asia, China, South Korea, Japan, International trade, Trade structure, Economic cooperation
    JEL: F13 F14 F15
    Date: 2010–05
  12. By: Arnelyn Abdon; Marife Bacate; Jesus Felipe; Utsav Kumar
    Abstract: We rank 5,107 products and 124 countries according to the Hidalgo and Hausmann (2009) measures of complexity. We find that: (1) the most complex products are in machinery, chemicals, and metals, while the least complex products are raw materials and commodities, wood, textiles, and agricultural products; (2) the most complex economies in the world are Japan, Germany, and Sweden, and the least complex, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, and Nigeria; (3) the major exporters of the more complex products are the high-income countries, while the major exporters of the less complex products are the low-income countries; and (4) export shares of the more complex products increase with income, while export shares of the less complex products decrease with income. Finally, we relate the measure of product complexity with the concept of Complex Products and Systems, and find a high degree of conformity between them.
    Keywords: Capabilities; Development; Economic Complexity; Diversification; Method of Reflections; Product Complexity; Ubiquity
    JEL: O10 O14
    Date: 2010–09
  13. By: Matsuura, Toshiyuki; Tanaka, Kiyoyasu; Urata, Shujiro
    Abstract: This study employs confidential affiliate-level panel data to improve measures of foreign affiliate activities of Japanese firms in manufacturing sectors. Combining existing data on U.S. MNCs with the Japanese data, we illustrate the pattern and determinant of their foreign affiliate sales by destination market across countries and industries for the period 1989-2005. Among our results, Japanese and U.S. MNCs are similar in the substantial growth of their foreign affiliate sales and the importance of sales to local markets. However, Japanese MNCs are distinctive from U.S. MNCs in that Japanese affiliate sales in Asia were prominently higher in host markets with lower educational attainment.
    Keywords: Japan, United States, International business enterprises, Industrial management, Multinational firm, FDI, U.S., Skill endowment
    JEL: F21 F23
    Date: 2010–04
  14. By: Soo Khoon Goh; Koi Nyen Wong
    Abstract: This study estimates the possible determinants of outward FDI from Malaysia by introducing host market size and home government policy on capital outflows using multivariate cointegration and error-correction modeling techniques. The empirical results indicate that there is a positive long-run relationship between Malaysia’s outward FDI and its key determinants, viz. foreign market size, real effective exchange rate, international reserves and trade openness. In order to capitalize on globalization, the main findings suggest that apart from the market-seeking incentive and the adoption of outward-oriented policies, the Malaysian government could also encourage outward FDI by implementing liberal policy on capital outflows. However, this can pose a dilemma to the economy. On one hand, encouraging FDI outflows may tend to retard domestic investment seeing that it has been an important source of economic growth over the last three decades. On the other hand, restricting FDI outflows could discourage potential Malaysian multinational corporations from seizing opportunities abroad and to become regional and international players in the long run. The present study has important policy implications for the country’s economic development and the internationalization of Malaysian firms in the era of globalization.
    Keywords: Outward FDI, Malaysia
    JEL: F21
    Date: 2010–05
  15. By: Wagner, Joachim (Leuphana University Lüneburg)
    Abstract: Heterogeneous firms are at the heart of both the New New International Trade Theory and the Micro-econometrics of International Firm Activities. One important aim of micro-econometric studies is to uncover stylized facts that hold over space and time, and that can both inspire theoretical models that are based on “realistic” assumptions, and inform policy debates in an evidence-based way. Which results from the thousands of empirical estimates reported in the literature on the micro-econometrics of international firm activities do we consider as convincing? Based on my own experience from the last twenty years I use the opportunity of this lecture to make twelve recommendations that, hopefully, will help to find the right way on the thorny road from estimation results to stylized facts. I will deal with the following topics: comparisons of means vs. comparisons of distributions; extremely different firms, or outliers; unobserved heterogeneity; simultaneous occurrence of differences across quantiles, outliers, and unobserved heterogeneity; heterogeneous effects of international firm activities on firm performance; replication; within-study replication by international research teams; meta-analysis; and talking to practitioners.
    Keywords: international firm activities, heterogeneous firms, stylized facts, robust statistics, replication, meta anaysis
    JEL: F14 C21 C23
    Date: 2010–09
  16. By: Erwing L. Corong; Rachel C. Reyes; Angelo B. Taningco
    Abstract: The Philippines has been participating in preferential and multilateral trade liberalization since the 1990s. However, the poverty effects of these trading arrangements are not yet fully known. This paper, which uses a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, finds that reducing both Most-Favored-Nation (MFN) tariff rate and ASEAN Free Trade Area’s Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) rate, combined with enhancing direct income taxes to offset the loss in tariff revenue, are instrumental in reducing poverty in the country. It also shows that the relatively poor and less-skilled household groups, like agricultural workers and industrial workers, as well as the poorest of the poor, gain from such trading arrangements because these substantially lower consumer prices. As such, this paper proposes that the Philippine government be more active and further promote preferential and multilateral trade liberalization in order to help eradicate poverty.
    Keywords: Computable general equilibrium, international trade, social accounting matrix, Philippines, poverty
    JEL: D33 D58 F13 F14 I32
    Date: 2010
  17. By: KAWAKAMI Atsushi; MIYAGAWA Tsutomu
    Abstract: Following Bernard, Redding and Schott (2010), we have constructed product and firm level data on Japanese manufacturing firms using the Census of Manufactures. Employing this data, we have found that multiple-product firms show better performance than single-product firms and product switching behavior in incumbent firms leads to greater output growth in the Japanese manufacturing sector, more so than in entry and exit. Empirical studies at industry level show that an unregulated, competitive environment stimulates product switching. At firm level, labor productivity growth and an unregulated, competitive environment encourage product switching behavior. Such product switching behavior improves firm performance in the areas of output, employment and labor productivity, etc.
    Date: 2010–09
  18. By: Simpson, Nicole B. (Department of Economics, Colgate University); Sparber, Chad (Department of Economics, Colgate University)
    Abstract: This paper uses a gravity model of migration to analyze how income differentials affect the flow of immigrants into U.S. states. We add to existing literature by decomposing income differentials into short- and long-term components and by focusing on newly arrived unskilled immigrants between 2000-2008. Our sample is unique in that 95 percent of our observed immigrant fl ows equal zero. The trade literature has advocated using the Eaton and Tamura (1994) threshold Tobit model in similar settings, and we are the first to apply the methodology to analyze the determinants of immigration. We find that recent U.S. immigrants positively respond to differences in long-term (or trend) GDP between origin countries and U.S. states. When appropriately accounting for the zero values, we also find that differences in GDP fluctuations significantly affect the fl ow of unskilled immigrants. In addition, we find that short-run GDP fl uctuations pull unskilled immigrants into certain U.S. states, whereas GDP levels push unskilled immigrants out of their countries of origin.
    Keywords: Immigration, Macroeconomics, GDP, Gravity
    JEL: F2 E01 J61
    Date: 2010–08–24
  19. By: Wenli Cheng; Dingsheng Zhang
    Abstract: This paper develops a Ricardian model with money to study North-South trade that is mediated by the currency of the North. The model shows that an increase in the supply of Northern money results in inflation being “exported” to the South. The increase in the supply of Northern money also has real effects: (1) it transfers real resources from the South to the North, lowers the wage rate in the South relative to that in the North, and worsens the terms of trade for the South; and (2) it leads to structural changes in both economies by encouraging the expansion of the tradable sector in the South and the expansion of the non-tradable sector in the North.
    Keywords: North-South trade, demand for money, demand for foreign exchange, monetary policy, money non-neutrality
    JEL: F11 F42 E41
    Date: 2010–05
  20. By: Kazuko Kano (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo); Takashi Kano (School of Finance and Economics, The University of Technology Sydney); Kazutaka Takechi (Faculty of Economics, Hosei University)
    Abstract: Past studies in the literature of the law of one price (LOP) show statistically significant but economically subtle roles of geographical distance in regional price dispersions. In this paper, we challenge this empirical "death of distance" as a primary source of LOP violations investigating a unique daily data set of wholesale prices of agricultural products in Japan that enables us to identify source regions and observe product-delivery patterns to consuming regions. We build a simple structural model to explain the observed product-delivery patterns and argue that ignoring the underlying delivery choice results in a serious under-bias toward inferences on distance effects on regional price dispersions due to sample selection. Estimating a sample-selection model, on which theoretical restrictions of our structural model are imposed, with data of several agricultural products, we find quite large estimates of the distance elasticity of price differential compared with conventional estimates. This paper, hence, provides evidence that conventional estimates of the distance elasticity could be heavily biased downwards and spuriously underestimate the role transportation costs play in regional price dispersions and LOP violations.
    Date: 2010–09
  21. By: Lederman, Daniel; Mengistae, Taye; Xu, Lixin Colin
    Abstract: The causes and consequences of foreign direct investment in developing countries remain a subject of debate among researchers and policymakers alike. The authors use international data and a new micro-data set of firms in 13 Southern African developing countries to investigate the benefits and determinants of foreign direct investment in this region. Foreign direct investment appears to have facilitated local development in the region. Foreign firms tend to perform better than domestic firms, tend to be larger, are located in richer and better-governed countries and in countries with more competitive financial intermediaries, and are more likely to export than domestic firms. They also exhibit positive spillover effects to domestic firms. Relying on a standard model to predict the country-level inflows of foreign direct investment per capita, the authors find that Southern African developing countries are attracting the expected level of inflows, at least relative to their income level, human capital, demographic structure, institutions, and economic track record. There are some differences between Southern African developing countries and the rest of the world in foreign direct investment behavior: in Southern African developing countries, the income level is less important and openness more so. The authors use two comparison groups to compare with the region to shed light on why other regions have attracted more foreign direct investment per capita than Southern African developing countries. The factors that explain the region's low inflows of foreign direct investment are economic fundamentals (previous growth rates, average income, phone density, and adult share of the population).
    Keywords: Emerging Markets,Economic Theory&Research,Investment and Investment Climate,Debt Markets,Foreign Direct Investment
    Date: 2010–09–01
  22. By: Blecker, Robert A.; Esquivel, Gerardo
    Abstract: In this chapter, we analyze the expectations and the realities about the economic impact of NAFTA on Mexico in terms of economic convergence, trade, investment, employment, wages, and income distribution. We show that NAFTA has basically failed to fulfill the promise of closing the Mexico-U.S. development gap, and we argue that this was due in part to the lack of deeper forms of regional integration or cooperation between Mexico and the United States. We also explore other factors that could explain this negative outcome, and we briefly discuss the opportunities for both Mexico and the United States to mutually benefit from a further economic integration process.
    Keywords: NAFTA, globalization, trade, democratization, labor, economic integration
    Date: 2010–01–01

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