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Working Paper 10-4

The Margins of US Trade

by Andrew B. Bernard, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and NBER
and J. Bradford Jensen, Peterson Institute for International Economics
and Stephen J. Redding, London School of Economics
and Peter K. Schott, Yale School of Management and NBER

May 2010


Recent research in international trade emphasizes the importance of firms' extensive margins for understanding overall patterns of trade as well as how firms respond to specific events such as trade liberalization. In this paper, we use detailed US trade statistics to provide a broad overview of how the margins of trade contribute to variation in US imports and exports across trading partners, types of trade (i.e., arm's length versus related party) and both short and long time horizons. Among other results, we highlight the differential behavior of related-party and arm's-length trade in response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

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