The Charmed Life of Superstar Exporters: Survey Evidence on Firms and Trade Policy

Journal of Politics: 10. DOI: 10.1086/687207

Posted: 30 Nov 2017 Last revised: 12 Dec 2017

See all articles by Iain Osgood

Iain Osgood

Harvard University

Dustin H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

In Song Kim

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Helen V. Milner

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Gabriele Spilker

ETH Zurich - Center for Comparative and International Studies

Date Written: October 21, 2016

Abstract

What factors determine firms’ attitudes toward trade policy? This paper considers producers’ policy preferences and political behavior in light of two key patterns in modern international trade: industries that face import competition often have many exporters, and foreign sales are concentrated in the hands of a small number of “superstar” exporters. Using a new survey of Costa Rican firms matched to systematic firm-level data on export behavior, we find that firm features are generally more important predictors of attitudes toward trade liberalization than industry-wide comparative advantage. We also show that export intensity is strongly associated with interest and lobbying activity on trade policy. The largest exporters, who are the strongest supporters of global integration, dominate trade politics.

Keywords: firms, trade, preferences, firm heterogeneity, lobbying

Suggested Citation

Osgood, Iain and Tingley, Dustin H. and Bernauer, Thomas and Kim, In Song and Milner, Helen V. and Spilker, Gabriele, The Charmed Life of Superstar Exporters: Survey Evidence on Firms and Trade Policy (October 21, 2016). Journal of Politics: 10. DOI: 10.1086/687207. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3078830

Iain Osgood (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

Dustin H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ib.ethz.ch

In Song Kim

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/insong/www/

Helen V. Milner

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States
609-258-0181 (Phone)

Gabriele Spilker

ETH Zurich - Center for Comparative and International Studies ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

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