Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm: Evidence from Belgium

The University of Nottingham Research Paper No. 2007/28

53 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2007

See all articles by Mirabelle Muûls

Mirabelle Muûls

Imperial College Business School and Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the environment; London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance

Mauro Pisu

Leverhulme Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy; National Bank of Belgium; OECD

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Abstract

This paper explores a newly-available panel data set merging balance sheet and international trade transaction data for Belgium. Both imports and exports appear to be highly concentrated among few firms and seem to have become more so over time. Focusing on manufacturing, we find that facts previously reported in the literature for exports only actually apply to imports too. We note that the number of trading firms diminishes as the number of export destinations or import origins increases. The same is true if we consider the number of products traded. With regard to productivity differentials, firms that both import and export appear to be the most productive, followed, in descending order, by importers only, exporters only and non-traders. These results point to the presence of fixed costs; not only of exporting, but also of importing and to a process of self-selection in both export and import markets. Also, the productivity advantage of exporters reported in the literature may be overstated because imports were not considered.

Keywords: exports, imports, productivity, firms

JEL Classification: F10, F16, J21

Suggested Citation

Muûls, Mirabelle and Pisu, Mauro, Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm: Evidence from Belgium. The University of Nottingham Research Paper No. 2007/28, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1004464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1004464

Mirabelle Muûls (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School and Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the environment ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Mauro Pisu

Leverhulme Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy ( email )

University of Nottingham
School of Economics
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

National Bank of Belgium ( email )

Research Department
Boulevard de Berlaimont 14
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

OECD ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

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