Title: Essays on firm and product heterogeneity in international trade.
Other Titles: Essays on firm and product heterogeneity in international trade.
Authors: Studnicka, Zuzanna
Issue Date: 18-Dec-2014
Abstract: This dissertation is composed of five chapters each of themcontaining one research paper. The main objective of Chapter 1 is to describerecent developments in the international trade literature leading to theemergence of the survival of trade analysis and to provide a synthesis andan evaluation of this new literature.Chapter 2 introduces the idea ofdifferences in trade performance across European countries. More precisely, inthis chapter we study the effects of transportation costs (in particular of thedistance) on international trade patterns of five European economies. Ourfindings point to substantial differencesin total exports and in the margins of trade across European exporters. We showthat distance plays an important role in explaining the observed tradepatterns, but the distance effect varies substantially across exporters,importers and the margins of trade. In particular, the negative distance effectis reversed and becomes positive in the case of the relative intensive marginof trade computed according to the Hummels and Klenow (2005) decompositionmethod. As such, this chapter confirms the recent evidence based on firm-leveldata, that trade relations between more distant trading partners can be veryintensive. Chapter 3 further examines the differences in export performanceacross countries, described in Chapter 2. To do this we look at the export performance of 27 European Unioncountries (EU27) and add new insights to the ongoing discussion on the durationof trade. More precisely, in this chapter we analyze the determinants of the duration of exportsand the impact of the recent financial crisis on export survival at the countrylevel. It appears that the export duration is short, but heterogeneous acrossEuropean exporters, ranging from 1.68 years for Malta to 3.79 years forGermany. Export survival across European countries is positively affected bythe size and geographic and product diversification of the exporting country,but hampered by the distance to the destination market. In particular, we arguein this chapter that economic growth in the exporting and importing countrymatters too. While economic growth in the importing country mostly has apositive effect on export survival, growth in the exporting country has negativeimpact in many cases. This negative exporter growth effects appears to be validfor all European countries taking into account the crisis period. Hence,although the crisis did not affect the duration of European exports, itaffected the role of economic growth in sustaining existing export flows. InChapter 4 we examine export survival of all Belgian exporting firms and focuson the phenomenon of returning to exports. In this chapter (as well as inChapter 5) we use a large data set onBelgian firm-level exports, provided by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB),covering the period 1998-2010. We find that the median and average duration ofexports are short. Export survival is positively affected by firm size, andproduct and geographic diversification. However, the latter finding is reversedwhen looking at the exports of specific products to specific markets. Inaddition, returning to exports increases the probability of exportsurvival. Chapter 5 studies the size and the main characteristicsof Belgian chocolate exports. The main objective of this chapter is to lookwhether high quality chocolate outperforms its cheaper counterpart in terms ofexport survival. We find that Belgianchocolate exporters export a large set of different products. Chocolate constitutes,however, the largest part of their value of exports. In addition, we confirmthat trade relationships are very short. However, median survival time ofchocolate exports is longer than of the rest of Belgian exporters. Qualitymatters for export survival among Belgian chocolate exporters. However, itmatters how quality is measured. While simple quality measures based on exportunit values do not lead to significant effects, more precise measures ofquality do point to a significantly positive impact of quality on exportsurvival. Chocolate products exported by firms specialized in chocolate survivelonger. Finally, small Belgian chocolatiers perform very well on internationalmarkets as smaller chocolate exporters survive longer in an export market witha particular chocolate product.
Table of Contents: General introduction
1. Recent advances in the duration of international trade literature
2. How distinct is distance?
3. Export survival and economic growth: evidence from European exports in times of crisis
4. Export survival and returning to exports
5. Export survival and quality: evidence from Belgian chocolate exporters
General conclusion
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Research Center of International Economics, Leuven
Research Centre for Globalization, Innovation and Competition, Campus Brussels (-)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) - miscellaneous
Department of ECON-CEDON, Campus Brussels

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