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Exporters and Importers of Services: Firm-Level Evidence on Italy

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  • Stefano Federico
  • Enrico Tosti

Abstract

This work contributes to the small but growing body of literature on international trade in services at firm level. Our dataset, based on a new Bank of Italy survey, provides information on exports and imports of services (excluding transportation and travel) in 2008-09 for almost 3,000 Italian industrial and services firms, divided by partner country and type of service. We report a set of stylized facts on trade in services. We also analyze the choice between export and foreign direct investment in services at the firm level, thus innovating with respect to the previous literature using industry data. The main findings are as follows: the export and import of services is highly concentrated in just a few firms; firm-level variation in trade is positively correlated with firm size and productivity; country-level variation is to a large extent explained by the standard gravity variables; distance strongly reduces trade in services in spite of their intangibility; smaller and less productive firms choose to export rather than sell through foreign affiliates.
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Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Federico & Enrico Tosti, 2017. "Exporters and Importers of Services: Firm-Level Evidence on Italy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(10), pages 2078-2096, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:10:p:2078-2096
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/twec.12462
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L80 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - General

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