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A Note on Detecting Learning by Exporting

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  • Jan De Loecker

Abstract

Learning by exporting refers to the mechanism whereby firms improve their performance (productivity) after entering export markets. Although this mechanism is often mentioned in policy documents, a significant share of econometric studies has not found evidence for this hypothesis. This paper shows that the methods used to come to the latter conclusion suffer from a large internal inconsistency: they rely on an exogenous evolving productivity process. I show how recent proxy estimators can accommodate endogenous productivity processes such as learning by exporting. I rely on my framework to discuss the bias introduced by ignoring such a process and how adjusting for it can lead to detect significant productivity gains upon export entry. I estimate my model on standard firm-level data and find substantial additional productivity gains from entering export markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16548.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16548

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  1. Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Product Differentiation, Multiproduct Firms, and Estimating the Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1407-1451, 09.
  2. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Eric Verhoogen, 2007. "Trade, quality upgrading and wage inequality in the Mexican manufacturing sector," Discussion Papers 0607-08, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
  5. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  6. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  7. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Armando Silva, 2011. "Financial Constraints and Exports: Evidence from Portuguese Manufacturing Firms," International Journal of Economic Sciences and Applied Research (IJESAR), Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Kavala, Greece, vol. 4(3), pages 7-19, December.
  2. Wagner, Joachim, 2011. "Productivity and International Firm Activities: What Do We Know?," IZA Policy Papers 23, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Seok, Byoung Hoon, 2011. "Growth and Global Imbalances: The Role of Learning-by-Exporting," MPRA Paper 46506, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Mar 2013.
  4. DU, Julan & LU, Yi & TAO, Zhigang & YU, Linhui, 2012. "Do domestic and foreign exporters differ in learning by exporting? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 296-315.
  5. Itzhak Goldberg & John Gabriel Goddard & Smita Kuriakose & Jean-Louis Racine, 2011. "Igniting Innovation : Rethinking the Role of Government in Emerging Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2358, January.
  6. Seok, Byoung Hoon, 2011. "Growth and Global Imbalances: The Role of Learning-by-Exporting," MPRA Paper 49484, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Aug 2013.

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