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

43 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2009

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

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Abstract

This paper explores a newly available panel dataset 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 as applying only to exports 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. Our results generally point 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. We find that firms that both import and export are the most productive, followed, in descending order, by importers only, exporters only and non-traders. Our results also show the existence of fixed costs of imports, which appear to be of similar magnitude as those of exports.

Suggested Citation

Muûls, Mirabelle and Pisu, Mauro, Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm: Evidence from Belgium. World Economy, Vol. 32, Issue 5, pp. 692-734, May 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1396474 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9701.2009.01172.x

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

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
3
Abstract Views
562
PlumX Metrics