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Importing, productivity and SMEs: firm-level evidence from the Netherlands

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  • Marcel van den Berg

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Abstract

Constructing a comprehensive data set covering Dutch firms over the years 2002-2008 I am the first to investigate the relationship between trade status, firm size and firm-level productivity in the Netherlands, thereby focusing particularly on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The empirical evidence can be summarized in four stylized facts. The productivity ranking by trade status of Dutch manufacturing firms in increasing order of productivity is: non-traders, importers, exporters and two-way traders. Firm size and being controlled by a company located abroad are positively associated with firm-level productivity. The results point in the direction of self-selection of more productive manufacturing firms into importing, particularly for firms that did not trade altogether prior to the import start and for build-up periods of two and three years towards the import start. I do not find evidence that firms become more productive after an import start because of learning effects. I find considerable heterogeneity in the productivity premia of trade along the firm size distribution. The results suggest that exporting is more complex than sourcing inputs internationally for small firms relative to larger firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-07.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1307

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Keywords: Micro data; firm heterogeneity; imports; exports; productivity; the Netherlands;

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  1. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jan Hagemejer & Marcin Kolasa, 2011. "Internationalisation and Economic Performance of Enterprises: Evidence from Polish Firm‐level Data," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 74-100, 01.
  3. Andersson, Martin & Johansson, Sara & Lööf, Hans, 2007. "Productivity and International Trade - firm-level evidence from a small open economy," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 99, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  4. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jan Hagemejer & Marcin Kolasa, 2008. "Internationalization and economic performance of enterprises: evidence from firm-level data," National Bank of Poland Working Papers 51, National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute.
  6. Eriksson, Tor & Smeets, Valerie & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Small Open Economy Firms in International Trade: Evidence from Danish Transactions-Level Data," Working Papers 09-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Henk Kox, 2010. "Exports and productivity selection effects for Dutch firms," CPB Discussion Paper 143, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  8. Ram C. Acharya & Wolfgang Keller, 2009. "Technology transfer through imports," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1411-1448, November.
  9. Hans Lööf & Martin Andersson, 2010. "Imports, Productivity and Origin Markets: The Role of Knowledge-intensive Economies," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 458-481, 03.
  10. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  11. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1611-1638, December.
  12. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  13. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
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