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The Determinants Of Export Performance: Evidence For Manufacturing Plants In Ireland And Northern Ireland


  • Stephen Roper
  • James H. Love
  • Dolores Añon Hígon


The dramatic GDP and export growth of Ireland over the last decade forms a marked contrast with that of its nearest neighbour Northern Ireland. In Ireland, export volume growth averaged 15.5% p.a. from 1991 to 1999 compared with 6.3% from Northern Ireland. Using data on individual manufacturing plants this paper considers the determinants of export performance in the two areas. Larger, externally owned plants with higher skill levels are found to have the highest export propensities in both areas. Other influences (plant age, R&D, etc.) prove more strongly conditional on location, plant size, and ownership. Structural factors (e.g. ownership, industry) explain almost all of the difference in export propensity between larger plants in Northern Ireland and Ireland but only around one‐third of that between smaller plants. Significant differences are also evident between plants in terms of their sources of new technology. For indigenously owned plants, in‐house R&D is important. For externally owned plants, R&D conducted elsewhere in the group – typically outside Ireland and Northern Ireland – proves more significant. This external dependency and lower than expected export propensity on the part of small plants in Northern Ireland represent significant policy challenges for the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Roper & James H. Love & Dolores Añon Hígon, 2006. "The Determinants Of Export Performance: Evidence For Manufacturing Plants In Ireland And Northern Ireland," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 53(5), pages 586-615, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:53:y:2006:i:5:p:586-615

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