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Exports and Profitability - First Evidence for German Manufacturing Firms

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Author Info

  • Helmut Fryges

    ()
    (ZEW Centre for European Economic Research)

  • Joachim Wagner

    ()
    (Institute of Economics, University of Lüneburg)

Abstract

Using unique recently released nationally representative high-quality longitudinal data at the enterprise level for Germany, this paper presents the first comprehensive evidence on the relationship between exports and profitability. It documents that the positive profitability differential of exporters compared to non-exporters is statistically significant, though rather small, when observed firm characteristics and unobserved firm specific effects are controlled for. In contrast to nearly all empirical studies on the relationship between productivity and exports we do not find any evidence for selfselection of more profitable firms into export markets. Due to the sampling frame of the data used we cannot test the hypothesis that firms which start exporting perform better in the years after the start than their counterparts which do not start. Instead, we use a newly developed continuous treatment approach and show that exporting improves the profitability almost over the whole range of the export-sales ratio. Only firms that generate 90 percent and more of their total sales abroad do not benefit from exporting in terms of an increased rate of profit. This means, that the usually observed higher productivity of exporters is not completely absorbed by the extra costs of exporting or by higher wages paid by internationally active firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 102.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:102

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Related research

Keywords: exports; profitability; micro data; Germany;

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References

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  1. Joachim Wagner, 2007. "Exports and Productivity ?Comparable Evidence for 14 Countries," LICOS Discussion Papers 19207, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  2. Schmalensee, Richard, 1989. "Inter-industry studies of structure and performance," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 951-1009 Elsevier.
  3. Wagner, Joachim, 2005. "Exports and Productivity : A survey of the evidence from firm level data," HWWA Discussion Papers 319, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  4. Helmut Fryges & Joachim Wagner, 2007. "Exports and Productivity Growth - First Evidence from a Continuous Treatment Approach," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-063, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  5. Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Syverson, Chad, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-32, Nov.-Dec..
  7. Hennart, J.M.A., 2007. "The theoretical rationale for a multinationality - performance relationship," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-284201, Tilburg University.
  8. Joachim Wagner, 2003. "Unobserved firm heterogeneity and the size-exports nexus: Evidence from German panel data," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 161-172, March.
  9. Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2007. "Do exporters really pay higher wages? First evidence from German linked employer-employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 52-74, May.
  10. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0795, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/10147 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
  13. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Thierry Mayer, 2007. "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms New facts based on firm-level evidence," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10147, Sciences Po.
  14. International Study Group on Exports and Productivity (ISGEP), 2008. "Understanding Cross-Country Differences in Exporter Premia: Comparable Evidence for 14 Countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 144(4), pages 596-635, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wagner, Joachim, 2011. "International Trade and Firm Performance: A Survey of Empirical Studies since 2006," IZA Discussion Papers 5916, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Sebastian Petrick & Katrin Rehdanz & Ulrich J. Wagner, 2011. "Energy Use Patterns in German Industry: Evidence from Plant-level Data," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 231(3), pages 379-414, June.
  3. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "New Methods for the Analysis of Links between International Firm Activities and Firm Performance: A Practitioner’s Guide," Working Paper Series in Economics 227, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  4. Marco Grazzi, 2009. "Trade and Profitability: Is there an export premium? Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2009/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  5. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "Exports, Imports and Profitability: First Evidence for Manufacturing Enterprises," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 747-765, November.
  6. Temouri, Yama & Vogel, Alexander & Wagner, Joachim, 2010. "Self-Selection into Export Markets by Business Services Firms: Evidence from France, Germany and the United Kingdom," IZA Discussion Papers 5147, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Ehrl, Philipp, 2013. "Agglomeration economies with consistent productivity estimates," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 751-763.
  8. Joachim Wagner, 2011. "Productivity and International Firm Activities: What do we know?," Working Paper Series in Economics 194, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  9. Lodefalk, Magnus, 2012. "The Role of Services for Manufacturing Firms’ Exports," Working Papers 2012:10, Örebro University, School of Business.
  10. Alexander Vogel, 2009. "Exporter Performance in the German Business Services Sector: First Evidence from the Services Statistics Panel," Working Paper Series in Economics 111, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  11. Sarbu, Miruna, 2013. "Does social software increase labour productivity?," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-041, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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