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Does knowledge spill to leaders or laggards? Exploring industry heterogeneity in learning by exporting

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  • Robert Salomon

    (Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, USA)

  • Byungchae Jin

    (Department of Management and Organization, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA)

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    Abstract

    In recent years the international trade literature has focused on the effects of exporting and its benefits in an open economy. Scholars note that engaging in trade enhances knowledge spillovers, and results in income growth and income convergence among trading partners. Although the macro-literature has long addressed economic convergence, there has been relatively little research examining the effect of exporting on ex post firm performance. Likewise, there has been little research that examines the differential learning-by-exporting effects across industries. In this paper we build upon the convergence literature to argue that engaging in exporting provides firms, especially firms in technologically lagging industries, the opportunity to benefit disproportionately from knowledge spillovers. Using a sample of Spanish manufacturing firms from 1990 to 1997, we investigate empirically how exporting differentially influences the innovative outcomes of firms in technologically leading vs lagging industries. We find evidence that firms in technologically lagging industries (in which Spain lags the global technology frontier) learn more from exporting than those firms in technologically leading industries (in which Spain is at, or near, the global technology frontier). The results enrich the traditional convergence argument by suggesting that industry heterogeneity matters to knowledge transfer, and stands to play a substantial role in reducing knowledge gaps. Journal of International Business Studies (2008) 39, 132–150. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400320

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    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal Journal of International Business Studies.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 132-150

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    Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:39:y:2008:i:1:p:132-150

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    Cited by:
    1. Yang, Yong & Mallick, Sushanta, 2014. "Explaining cross-country differences in exporting performance: The role of country-level macroeconomic environment," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 246-259.
    2. Curuk, M., 2011. "The Effects of International Trade on Resource Misallocation: Trade Partner Matters (Replaced by CentER DP 2012-046)," Discussion Paper 2011-125, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. Sofka, Wolfgang & Shehu, Edlira, 2009. "Host Country Contingencies on Knowledge Protection Strategies of Multinational Firms: Bring a Knife to a Gunfight?," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-002, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Wang, Chengqi & Kafouros, Mario I., 2009. "What factors determine innovation performance in emerging economies? Evidence from China," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 606-616, December.
    5. Yi, Jingtao & Wang, Chengqi & Kafouros, Mario, 2013. "The effects of innovative capabilities on exporting: Do institutional forces matter?," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 392-406.
    6. Schmidt, Tobias & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2009. "Knowledge sourcing: legitimacy deficits for MNC subsidiaries?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2009,09, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
    7. Love, James H. & Ganotakis, Panagiotis, 2013. "Learning by exporting: Lessons from high-technology SMEs," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-17.
    8. García, Francisco & Avella, Lucía & Fernández, Esteban, 2012. "Learning from exporting: The moderating effect of technological capabilities," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1099-1111.
    9. Kafouros, Mario I. & Buckley, Peter J. & Clegg, Jeremy, 2012. "The effects of global knowledge reservoirs on the productivity of multinational enterprises: The role of international depth and breadth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 848-861.
    10. Smeets, Roger & Bosker, E.M., 2011. "Leaders, laggards and technology seeking strategies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 481-497.
    11. Wang, Chengqi & Deng, Ziliang & Kafouros, Mario I. & Chen, Yan, 2012. "Reconceptualizing the spillover effects of foreign direct investment: A process-dependent approach," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 452-464.
    12. García, Francisco & Jin, Byungchae & Salomon, Robert, 2013. "Does inward foreign direct investment improve the innovative performance of local firms?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 231-244.
    13. Schmidt, Tobias & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2009. "Liability of foreignness as a barrier to knowledge spillovers: Lost in translation?," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 460-474, December.
    14. Casillas, José C. & Moreno, Ana M. & Acedo, Francisco J., 2012. "Path dependence view of export behaviour: A relationship between static patterns and dynamic configurations," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 465-479.
    15. Pedro Albarran & Raquel Carrasco & Adelheid Holl, 2013. "Domestic transport infrastructure and firms’ export market participation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 879-898, May.
    16. Jörg Zimmermann & Wolfgang Sofka, 2013. "Knowledge search versus knowledge deployment: How foreignness can be both an asset and a liability for firms," JRC-IPTS Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2013-03, Institute of Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
    17. Zimmermann, Jörg & Grimpe, Christoph & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2009. "Young, open and international: the impact of search strategies on the internationalization of new ventures," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-017, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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