Do International Shocks Affect Small Wholesalers and Retailers?
Departmenty of Economics, Work Papers Series, no. 2009-02. 28 pages. Previous research has suggested that the smallest firms are those most vulnerable to international competition, as measured by exchange rate fluctuations and import shares. However, that work – and the overwhelming bulk of the empirical literature on determinants of exit or firm survival – dealt entirely with the manufacturing sector of the economy. Are firms further down the distribution chain, small wholesalers and retailers, hurt by real exchange rate movements? Annual data for 1989-2005 are analyzed to explain small firm exit rates in several employment size categories – under 10 employees, 10-19 employees, 20-99 employees, and 100-499 employees. While there is variation across industry sectors, the basic result is that wholesalers respond negatively to a stronger currency in a manner similar to that of manufacturers, while retailers are generally unaffected.