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Export Superstars

42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016  

Caroline L. Freund

World Bank - Middle East and North Africa Region

Martha Denisse Pierola

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: October 1, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Microfinance, Free Trade, Economic Theory & Research, Trade Policy, Small Scale Enterprise

Suggested Citation

Freund, Caroline L. and Pierola, Martha Denisse, Export Superstars (October 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6222. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2160192

Caroline L. Freund (Contact Author)

World Bank - Middle East and North Africa Region ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
MC3-329
Washington, DC 20433
United States
(202)458-4918 (Phone)
(202)522-2510 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/cfreund

Martha Denisse Pierola

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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