Exploring the Margins of Dutch Exports: A Firm-Level Analysis

Harold Creusen, Henk Kox, Arjan Lejour*, Roger Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper utilizes new Dutch transaction-level data on international trade to investigate the microeconomic patterns of Dutch exports. First, we show that self-selection based on ex-ante productivity drives firms' export decisions, which we subsequently relate to various sources of fixed market-entry costs: governance and regulatory quality, the extent of corruption, and cultural proximity. Second, we provide evidence that firms learn to export by trial and error, so as to obtain experience in exporting and to gather knowledge about the potential of foreign markets. Such experimentation appears to be reflected in the volatility of a firm's export product portfolio. More volatility is associated with a higher survival rate in the export market. Finally, we draw conclusions on the potential implications for trade policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-434
Number of pages22
JournalDe Economist: Tijdschrift voor alle standen, tot bevordering van volkswelvaart, door verspreiding van eenvoudige beginselen van staatshuishoudkunde
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • International trade
  • Export margins
  • Firm heterogeneity
  • Micro data


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