Sequentially exporting products across countries

Using disaggregated data on French exporters, we find that firms gradually expand their product scope and geographical presence. The process of internationalization is initially volatile but stabilizes over time. Young exporters tend to exit, but those who continue exporting expand by diversifying their product range within existing destinations before entering new ones. Core products remain resilient despite being used for initial market testing. Existing models of firm export dynamics do not account for these empirical findings, which can be explained by new exporters’ uncertainty about market profitability and subsequent learning and adjustment.

Image courtesy of interviewee. December 21, 2023

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