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Entry barriers to international trade: product versus firm fixed costs

Walter Steingress ()

Working papers from Banque de France

Abstract: Market size matters for exporters if firms must recover fixed costs. This paper uses the relationship between the extensive margins of exports and destination market size to evaluate whether fixed costs operate at the firm or at the product level. If fixed costs are at the firm level, multi-product firms have a cost advantage and dominate international trade. If fixed costs are at the product level, many firms export different varieties of the same product. Using detailed product level data from 40 exporting countries to 180 destination markets, the results indicate that entry barriers operate at the product level. Looking at firm entry within products across time and destinations, I find evidence of spillover effects that reduce fixed costs for product market rivals, increase firm en- try and augment export revenues. The efficiency gains in production through lower product fixed costs outweigh the competition effects from more firm entry. Trade policies encouraging product entry, such as advertising products in destination markets through export promotion agencies, would result in more firm entry and generate higher export revenues.

Keywords: Fixed costs; spillovers; market size. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F12 F14 F23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-com and nep-int
Date: 2015
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bfr:banfra:544

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