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Imports and productivity: the impact of geography and factor intensity

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  • Marcel van den Berg

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  • Charles van Marrewijk

Abstract

Using micro-data for Dutch firms, we argue that the productivity spillovers from importing technology intensive products from Taiwan differ from importing unskilled- labor intensive products from Switzerland. We show that both the geographic component (what country is the import from) and the intensity component (what type of good is imported) is crucial for measuring and understanding these spillovers. We show that increasing distance and decreasing levels of development of the origin economy negatively affect the diffusion of efficiency gains embodied in imported goods. Similarly, these gains are larger for technology intensive goods and smaller for unskilled-labor intensive goods. This implies that the geographic- intensity markets are unique and cannot be lumped together. In addition, a diversified import portfolio (the extensive dimension) is always positively associated with firm-level productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-12.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1312

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Keywords: Firm heterogeneity; imports; productivity; geography; factor intensity;

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  1. Coe, David T. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "International R&D spillovers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 859-887, May.
  2. 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.
  3. Arjan Lejour & Harold Creusen, 2011. "Uncertainty and the export decisions of Dutch firms," CPB Discussion Paper 183, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  4. Girma, Sourafel & Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2004. "Exports, international investment, and plant performance: evidence from a non-parametric test," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 317-324, June.
  5. Coe, David T & Helpman, Elhanan & Hoffmaister, Alexander W, 1997. "North-South R&D Spillovers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 134-49, January.
  6. Davide Castellani & Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2010. "Firms in International Trade: Importers' and Exporters' Heterogeneity in Italian Manufacturing Industry," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 424-457, 03.
  7. 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.
  8. Amiti, Mary & Konings, Jozef, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Andrew.B Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in international trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3682, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Acharya, Ram C. & Keller, Wolfgang, 2007. "Technology Transfer through Imports," CEPR Discussion Papers 6296, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2009. "Self-selection along different export and import markets," LEM Papers Series 2009/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  12. 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.
  13. Armando Silva & Oscar Afonso & Ana Paula Africano, 2012. "Which manufacturing firms learn by exporting?," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(6), pages 773-805, December.
  14. 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.
  15. Sébastien Miroudot & Rainer Lanz & Alexandros Ragoussis, 2009. "Trade in Intermediate Goods and Services," OECD Trade Policy Papers 93, OECD Publishing.
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