IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article


  • BOERMANS, Martijn Adriaan

Exports, in this study, are more productive than non-exports, but why? Using a micro-panel dataset from five African countries we show that more productive small and medium enterprises (SMEs) self-select into exporting. Ultimately we are interested in impact of exporting on productivity. Results demonstrate that African SMEs experience productivity gains because of export participation. Firms learn-by-exporting, however, improvements are moderated by export destinations. Firms that export outside Africa become more capital intensive and improve productivity while hiring more workers. In contrast, firms that export to African neighbouring countries downsize on capital and decrease productivity while hiring more unskilled workers at higher wages.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access restricted to subscribers. Free on line subscription for universities from low income countries. More information at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Euro-American Association of Economic Development in its journal Applied Econometrics and International Development.

Volume (Year): 13 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 149-168

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eaa:aeinde:v:13:y:2013:i:2_11
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Bernard, A.B. & Jensen, J.B., 1994. "Exporters, Skill Upgrading, and the Wage Gap," Working papers 94-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Wagner, Joachim, 2005. "Exports and Productivity : A survey of the evidence from firm level data," HWWA Discussion Papers 319, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  5. Blalock, Garrick & Gertler, Paul J., 2004. "Learning from exporting revisited in a less developed setting," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 397-416, December.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Jonathan Eaton, Marcela Eslava, Maurice Kugler, and James Tybout, 2007. "Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence," Working Papers eg0038, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 2007.
  8. Francis Teal & Måns Söderbom & Neil Rankin, 2005. "Exporting from manufacturing firms in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-036, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
  10. Arne Bigsten & Mans Söderbom, 2006. "What Have We Learned from a Decade of Manufacturing Enterprise Surveys in Africa?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 241-265.
  11. John Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2003. "Export-market participation and productivity performance in Canadian manufacturing," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(3), pages 634-657, August.
  12. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Davide Castellani, 2002. "Export behavior and productivity growth: Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 138(4), pages 605-628, December.
  14. Francis Teal & Alan Harding & Måns Söderbom, 2004. "Survival and Success among African Manufacturing Firms," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. A. Isgut, 2001. "What's Different about Exporters? Evidence from Colombian Manufacturing," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(5), pages 57-82.
  16. repec:pal:imfstp:v:51:y:2004:i:2:p:6 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  18. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  19. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1537-1557, November.
  20. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  21. Disney, Richard F & Haskel, Jonathan & Heden, Ylva, 2000. "Restructuring And Productivity Growth In UK Manufacturing," CEPR Discussion Papers 2463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. 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.
  23. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  24. Boermans, Martijn Adriaan, 2010. "Learning-by-Exporting and Destination Effects: Evidence from African SMEs," MPRA Paper 22658, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 May 2010.
  25. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1998. "Explaining African economic performance," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1997-02.2, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  26. Bigsten, Arne & Gebreeyesus, Mulu, 2008. "Firm Productivity and Exports: Evidence from Ethiopian manufacturing," Working Papers in Economics 303, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  27. Richard Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2013. "Trade-in-goods and trade-in-tasks: An integrating framework," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva 13103, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
  28. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
  29. Jože P. Damijan & Črt Kostevc & Sašo Polanec, 2010. "From Innovation to Exporting or Vice Versa?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 374-398, 03.
  30. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Catherine Pattillo & Måns Soderbom & Francis Teal & Albert Zeu, 2004. "Do African Manufacturing Firms Learn from Exporting?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 115-141.
  31. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Hansson, Pär & Lundin, Nan Nan, 2003. "Exports as an Indicator on or Promoter of Successful Swedish Manufacturing Firms in the 1990s," Working Paper Series 189, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
  33. Wagner, Joachim, 2001. "The causal effects of exports on firm size and labor productivity: First evidence from a matching approach," HWWA Discussion Papers 155, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  34. Hagemejer, Jan & Kolasa, Marcin, 2008. "Internationalization and economic performance of enterprises: evidence from firm-level data," MPRA Paper 8720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  35. Pedro Martins & Yong Yang, 2009. "The impact of exporting on firm productivity: a meta-analysis of the learning-by-exporting hypothesis," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 145(3), pages 431-445, October.
  36. 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.
  37. Richard Fabling & Lynda Sanderson, 2010. "Exporting and performance: Market entry, expansion and destination characteristics," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2010/07, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  38. Joze P. Damijan & Saso Polanec & Janez Prasnikar, 2004. "Self-selection, Export Market Heterogeneity and Productivity Improvements: Firm Level Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 14804, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  39. 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.
  40. Måns S–derbom & Francis Teal, 2003. "Are Manufacturing Exports the Key to Economic Success in Africa?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(1), pages 1-29, March.
  41. L. Alan Winters & Neil McCulloch & Andrew McKay, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: The Evidence So Far," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 72-115, March.
  42. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eaa:aeinde:v:13:y:2013:i:2_11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (M. Carmen Guisan)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.