Sunk costs in the exporting activity: Implications for international trade and specialisation

Publisert: 28. juni 2016

International trade costs may be sunk and not proportional to sales. The paper explores this theoretically, by allowing firms to invest in sales channels or marketing in order to increase demand in each market. The returns to such investments will, ceteris paribus, be higher in markets with lower variable trade costs (e.g. transport costs). Firms will therefore invest and sell more at home than in foreign markets, and more in foreign markets with low variable trade costs. Sunk export costs will therefore amplify the trade-reducing impact of other trade barriers, and dampen the «home market effect» whereby large countries tend to be net exporters of differentiated goods.