Discussion paper

DP11389 Product Mix and Firm Productivity Responses to Trade Competition

We document how demand shocks in export markets lead French multi-product exporters to re-allocate the mix of products sold in those destinations. In response to positive demand shocks, those French firms skew their export sales towards their best performing products; and also extend the range of products sold to that market. We develop a theoretical model of multi- product firms and derive the specific demand and cost conditions needed to generate these product-mix reallocations. Our theoretical model highlights how the increased competition from demand shocks in export markets – and the induced product mix reallocations – induce productivity changes within the firm. We then empirically test for this connection between the demand shocks and the productivity of multi-product firms exporting to those destinations. We find that the effect of those demand shocks on productivity are substantial – and explain an important share of aggregate productivity fluctuations for French manufacturing.


Mayer, T, M Melitz and G Ottaviano (2016), ‘DP11389 Product Mix and Firm Productivity Responses to Trade Competition‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11389. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11389