In new new international trade theory, whether firms export or not are determined by their productivity. These models assume that firms enter a market to find their productivity levels revealed to them as in a lottery. In this paper we propose an alternative way to model whether firms export or not, namely as a firm-level decision akin to an investment decision with a real option value. We show that endogenizing the export decision is consistent with patterns of productivity and exporting reported in the empirical literature.
international new ventures firm-level heterogeneity start-ups stochastic dynamic programming trade exports productivity real option theory investment firms international entrepreneurship