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Firm Heterogeneity and Development: Evidence from Latin American countries

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  • H.H. Chang
  • C. van Marrewijk

Abstract

Motivated by the work of Melitz (2003), Helpman, et al. (2004) and Yeaple (2005), micro-firm data provided by the World Bank Enterprise Survey is used to study the empirical productivity distribution across 15 Latin American countries. This paper differs from previous work in identifying four types of firms by their ownership characteristics and their exporting status. We compare the productivity distribution of these four types of firms to reflect on theoretical modeling deficiencies. First, the productivity distributions for each type show no sign of a productivity cut-off at the lower end, contrary to current theoretical modeling. Second, we see that exporting activities are nonexclusive to firms with high productivity. In other words, by distinguishing groups of firms with different degrees of international involvement (domestic producers, exporters, nationally-owned and foreign-owned firms), we find that the productivity distributions of different groups of firms overlap with one another. This contradicts with the modeling in Melitz (2003), which suggests sorting into different international engagement according to productivity level. Third, we find a superior productivity distribution among foreign-owned firms as compared to domestic firms. The foreign ownership premium is significant and more prevailing in the services sectors than the manufacturing sectors. Exporters also show superior productivity, but this productivity premium is only enjoyed by the nationally-owned manufacturers. Lastly, with the cross-country data, we find a positive relationship between the overall productivity level and a country's development level, as often found in other research. In addition, we find that firms in the services sectors are less constrained by the macroeconomic development level of the country and are able to advance is productivity level with individual micro-firm characteristics than firms in the manufacturing sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-14.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1114

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Keywords: Firm heterogeneity; Productivity distribution; Exporting; Development; Latin America;

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References

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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 105-130, Summer.
  2. Eiichi Tomiura, 2005. "Foreign Outsourcing, Exporting, and FDI: A Productivity Comparison at the Firm Level," Discussion Paper Series 168, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  3. GIRMA, Sourafel & GOERG, Holger & STROBL, Eric, 2004. "Exports, international investment, and plant performance : evidence from a non-parametric test," CORE Discussion Papers 2004009, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Exporting Raises Productivity in Sub-Saharan African Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 10020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Aw, Bee Yan & Chen, Xiaomin & Roberts, Mark J., 2001. "Firm-level evidence on productivity differentials and turnover in Taiwanese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 51-86, October.
  6. Demidova, Svetlana & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2009. "Trade policy under firm-level heterogeneity in a small economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 100-112, June.
  7. Schmitt, Nicolas & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Economies of scale and the volume of intra-industry trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 127-132, December.
  8. Alexander Vogel & Joachim Wagner, 2010. "Higher productivity in importing German manufacturing firms: self-selection, learning from importing, or both?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 145(4), pages 641-665, January.
  9. Arnold, Jens Matthias & Hussinger, Katrin, 2004. "Export Behavior and Firm Productivity in German Manufacturing: A Firm-level Analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-12, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Aw, B. -Y. & Hwang, A. R., 1995. "Productivity and the export market: A firm-level analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 313-332, August.
  11. Chen, Tain-jy & Tang, De-piao, 1987. "Comparing technical efficiency between import-substitution-oriented and export-oriented foreign firms in a developing economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 277-289, August.
  12. Blyde, Juan & Iberti, Gonzalo, 2010. "Trade costs, resource reallocation and productivity in developing countries," MPRA Paper 21318, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Ana M. Fernandes & Alberto E. Isgut, 2005. "Learning-by-Doing, Learning-by-Exporting, and Productivity: Evidence from Colombia," DEGIT Conference Papers c010_018, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  15. Delgado, Miguel A. & Farinas, Jose C. & Ruano, Sonia, 2002. "Firm productivity and export markets: a non-parametric approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 397-422, August.
  16. Sébastien Jean, 2000. "International Trade and Firms’ Heterogeneity Under Monopolistic Competition," Working Papers 2000-13, CEPII research center.
  17. Roberto Alvarez & Ricardo López, 2005. "Exporting and performance: evidence from Chilean plants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1384-1400, November.
  18. Haddad, Mona & Harrison, Ann, 1993. "Are there positive spillovers from direct foreign investment? : Evidence from panel data for Morocco," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 51-74, October.
  19. Sourafel Girma & David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2004. "Does Exporting Increase Productivity? A Microeconometric Analysis of Matched Firms," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 855-866, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Naudé, Wim & Gries, Thomas & Bilkic, Natasa, 2013. "Firm-Level Heterogeneity and the Decision to Export: A Real Option Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 7346, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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