Wholesalers, indirect exports, geography, and economies of scope: Evidence from firm transaction data in Japan

Tadashi Ito, Ryohei Nakamura, Manabu Morita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study examines wholesalers’ roles in manufacturers’ exports in Japan. First, it is shown that, like in the case of manufacturing sector, a productivity sorting on the overseas activities is also present in the case of wholesalers. Namely, only the most productive wholesaler firms can engage in foreign direct investment, and the next productive wholesaler firms can participate in export activities, and the least productive wholesaler firms do domestic transactions only. Second, we investigate how the wholesalers facilitate manufacturers’ export activities in the form of indirect exports. We have found that the wholesalers through which manufacturing firms indirectly export their goods are predominantly located in Tokyo or Osaka. The probability of indirect exports is negatively correlated with distance between manufacturers and wholesalers, but there are certain threshold distances at 300–500 kilometers, over which the chance of indirect exports turns null. Another notable finding is that wholesalers’ productivities have positive correlation with the chances of indirect exports whereas manufacturers’ productivities do not matter. The number of manufacturers from which a wholesaler purchases goods, is found to have a positive correlation with the probability of indirect exports, a type of economies of scope effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101055
JournalJapan and The World Economy
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Economies of scope
  • Indirect-exports
  • Productivity
  • Regional economies
  • Wholesalers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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