The backlash against globalization grows by the day. Yet the importance of trade for growth remains as strong as ever, and most developing countries continue to prioritize export growth and diversification in their development strategies. Trade has the power to transform firms, which in turn can boost productivity, growth, and incomes.
However, the microeconomic aspects of international integration remain only partially understood, despite significant advances in country-level analysis. What are the key patterns in export participation, survival, expansion, and concentration at the firm level? In this talk, Ana Fernandes will discuss how the Exporter Dynamics Database—a data collection effort made possible by the digitalization of customs agencies around the world—is shedding new light on these questions.
The data reveal that superstar firms play a vital role in export growth, but are relatively scarce in developing countries, which also see more exporter churning. Export success seems more likely to arise in an environment that encourages not just small and medium-size firms but also large ones. Ana will present the first results of rigorous methods to assess the impact of policies to facilitate trade (e.g. customs reform) and to promote exports (e.g. matching grants).