Big Hits in Exports: Growing by Leaps and Bounds
April 16, 2015Macro, Trade, and Finance Seminar Series

Olivier Cadot (Université de Lausanne) will share the results of recent research.

Speakers: Olivier Cadot is a professor of International Economics and director of the Institute of Applied Economics at the University of Lausanne. Prior to taking up his position at Lausanne, he was Associate Professor of Economics at INSEAD. He has held visiting appointments at UCLA, McGill University, New York University, Université d’Auvergne, Koç University, the Paris School of Economics and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. He was a Senior Economist in the World Bank's Trade Department between 2009 and 2011 and has advised the French Government, the Swiss Federal Government, the Government of Costa Rica and the European Commission on trade-policy matters. He also worked for the OECD and the International Monetary Fund. He was elected best teacher at HEC Lausanne and was nominated three times for the Outstanding Teacher Award at INSEAD. He has contributed regularly to international executive programs. He is a Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research in London, a Senior Fellow and Board member of the FERDI and Associate Scholar at CEPREMAP. He also serves on the editorial board of the Revue d’Economie du Developpement. He has published numerous scholarly papers on international trade and economic development. Prof. Cadot holds a Ph.D in Economics from Princeton University and a Masters in Economic History from McGill University.

Mélise Jaud is an economist in the Chief Economist’s Office of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region. She works primarily on international trade, including the determinants and impacts of firms’ export dynamics and growth, food safety issues in trade, and policy reforms in developing and transition countries. She has published in the fields of trade and development and political economy of growth. Her most recent book with Caroline Freund "Champions Wanted" examines the micro-foundation of MENA’s weak aggregate export performance over the past decade. Prior to joining the World Bank Mélise worked as an economic advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture in Mozambique. She received her PhD in Economics from the Paris School of Economics. She holds a Masters in Agricultural Economics from Imperial College London and a Masters in Molecular biology from Ecole Normale.

Abstract: This paper identifies sudden export surges at the origin-destination-product level and examines their dynamics at the macro and micro level combining international trade statistics with firm-level customs data for eight developing and emerging countries. These “big hits” are rare events (fewer than one percent of all export spells), yet account for over half of aggregate export growth in all countries in the sample except one. Big hits have a ratchet effect on export value: post take-off growth reverts roughly to its baseline rate, while export values remain permanently higher. We also find evidence that export success diffuses across destinations, as a big hit in one product-destination cell makes it eight times likelier that the same product will be a big hit in any other destination. Big hits also typically generate strong bandwagon effects across firms, but the crowding-in does not systematically lead to price collapses, as big hits seem to associate with less negative pecuniary externalities between exporters. At the micro-level, a firm involved in a big hit is 25 times more likely to be associated with a big hit of the same product in a different destination, and 22 times more likely to be with a different product. Together, our results suggest that a “big-hit watch” enabling export-promotion agencies to spot them rapidly and disseminate information among potential participating exporters could have positive returns. 

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2015

The Macro, Trade, and Finance Seminar Series is a weekly series hosted by the World Bank's research department. The series invites leading researchers from the fields of macroeconomics, growth, trade, international integration, and finance to present the results of their most recent research in a seminar format. The full list of seminars can be viewed here.

Event Details
  • Date: April 16, 2015
  • Location: IMF HQ2 9B-073
  • Time: 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
  • CONTACT: Shweta Mesipam