Essays on firms in international trade




Schlupp, Jan Frederik

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Macroeconomic phenomena are ultimately the aggregation of a large number of micro decisions. In the case of international trade, decisions at both the plant and the firm level ultimately drive trends in the aggregate data. All three chapters in this dissertation focus on extending our understanding of the decisions made by exporters. In the first chapter,''Agglomeration and Local Spillover Effects of US Exporters'', I extend the study of local area information frictions in the context of exporting. Leveraging a novel dataset of establishment level exports in the US, I show for the first time in the US context that information about foreign demand affects entry and exit decisions into exporting at the county level. I extend a common model of social learning to incorporate the multi-dimensional nature of exporting choices. The second chapter,''The Local-Area Impact of Exporting'', details the creation of the establishment level export dataset. It also uses the novel detailed look into regional trade to show the additional impact of the 2007-2009 collapse in trade during the Great Recession on local labor market outcomes in counties which are more exposed to trade shocks. Partly inspired by the first chapter's observation that intermittent exporting is difficult to rationalize in standard models of trade, the third chapter, ``US exporters between 1993-2017'', documents how the export decisions of US exports vary over their life-cycle. Each of these chapters contributes new understanding of establishment export decisions at the micro-level, and taken together show that as data quality improves, the local environment of firms and exporters will increasingly matter for targeted macroeconomic interventions.



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