Globalization is everywhere. At least, that’s the impression that it gives: more and more countries are opening up to international trade and fewer and fewer sectors seem to be protected from international competition. This impression correctly matches traditional analyses, which consider that international trade is a matter of specialisation between sectors and mainly focus on barriers such as customs duties and transport costs. But access to fine grain data, at the level of each exporting firm, reveals a quite different landscape and enables us to paint a more accurate and more finely shaded picture of globalization. Analysis of the Custom and Excise and INSEE databases shows that the proportion of French firms that have a direct export activity is astonishingly low and that these businesses are clearly distinguished from the others: they are larger, more productive and pay their employees higher wages. In order to understand the real extent of the internationalisation of markets and better identify the barriers that really stand in the way of the export capacities of a country like France, we need to turn the spotlight on these "stars", which are the driving forces of globalization.
international trade; globalization; specialization; custom data; France; INSEE
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