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Export superstars, Volume 1
 
Author:Freund, Caroline; Pierola, Martha Denisse; Country:World;
Date Stored:2012/10/10Document Date:2012/10/01
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Small Scale Enterprise; Economic Theory & Research; Free Trade; Trade Policy; Microfinance
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:Industry and trade
Rel. Proj ID:1W-Export & Growth - Trta Program -- -- P111050;Region:The World Region
Report Number:WPS6222Sub Sectors:Other domestic and international trade
Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6222TF No/Name:TF098106-KCP II - Export Transaction Database; TF012590-KCPII - Global Analysis of the Impact of Policies and Firm Dynamics in ; TF012408-Dissemination of Export Transaction Database; TF013297-Exporter Dynamics Database Expansion
Volume No:1  

Summary: This paper shows that the top 1 percent of exporters critically shape trade patterns, using firm-level data from 32 countries. In particular, variation in average firm size (the intensive margin) explains over two thirds of the variation in the sector distribution of exports across countries, the remaining share is explained by variation in the number of firms (the extensive margin). Variation in average firm size across sectors is largely driven by variation in the sectoral distribution of exports from the top 1 percent of firms in a country -- export superstars. In contrast, the sectoral distribution of exports from the remaining 99 percent of firms is more similar across countries, and the distribution of the total number of firms across sectors is very similar across countries. This paper also finds that current export superstars typically entered the export market relatively large, reached the top 1 percent after less than three years of exporting, and account for more than half of a country's total exports, export growth and diversification. The results underscore the role of individual firms in determining both trade volumes and trade patterns.

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