The Network Structure of International Trade

Thomas Chaney


Motivated by empirical evidence I uncover on the dynamics of French firms exports, I offer a novel theory of trade frictions. Firms only export into markets where they have a contact. They directly search for new trading partners, but also use their exist- ing network of contacts to remotely search for new partners. I characterize the dynamic formation of an international network of exporters in this model. I structurally estimate this model on French data and confirm its predictions regarding (i) the cross- sectional distribution of the number of foreign markets accessed by exporters and (ii) the cross-sectional geographic distribution of exports.

JEL codes

  • C15: Statistical Simulation Methods: General
  • D85: Network Formation and Analysis: Theory
  • F1: Trade

See also

Published in

American Economic Review, vol. 104, n. 11, November 2014, pp. 3600–3634