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Do domestic and foreign exporters differ in learning by exporting? Evidence from China


  • DU, Julan
  • LU, Yi
  • TAO, Zhigang
  • YU, Linhui


In view of the importance of intra-firm trade and export-platform FDI conducted by multinationals, we investigate how domestic firms and foreign affiliates exhibited differential impacts of export entry and exit on productivity changes. Using a comprehensive dataset from China's manufacturing industries, we employ the Olley–Pakes method to estimate firm-level TFP and the matching techniques to isolate the impacts of export participation on firm productivity. Robust evidence is obtained that domestic firms displayed significant productivity gains (losses) upon export entry (exit), whereas foreign affiliates showed no evident TFP changes. Moreover, the productivity gains for domestic export starters were more pronounced in high- and medium-technology industries than in low-technology ones. We explain our findings from the perspective of the technology gap theory after considering processing trade and the fragmentation of production stages in the era of globalization.

Suggested Citation

  • DU, Julan & LU, Yi & TAO, Zhigang & YU, Linhui, 2012. "Do domestic and foreign exporters differ in learning by exporting? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 296-315.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:2:p:296-315
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2011.12.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. ZHANG Hongyong & ZHU Lianming, 2015. "Effect of Foreign Affiliates on Exporting and Markups," Discussion papers 15127, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Badi Baltagi & Peter Egger & Michaela Kesina, 2015. "Sources of productivity spillovers: panel data evidence from China," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 389-402, June.
    3. Hu, Cui & Tan, Yong, 2016. "Product differentiation, export participation and productivity growth: Evidence from Chinese manufacturing firms," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 234-252.
    4. Badi H. Baltagi & Peter H. Egger & Michaela Kesina, 2016. "Firm‐Level Productivity Spillovers in China's Chemical Industry: A Spatial Hausman‐Taylor Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 214-248, January.
    5. Sharma, Chandan & Mishra, Ritesh Kumar, 2015. "International trade and performance of firms: Unraveling export, import and productivity puzzle," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 61-74.
    6. Michaud, Amanda & Rothert, Jacek, 2014. "Optimal borrowing constraints and growth in a small open economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 326-340.
    7. Cui Hu & Faqin Lin & Xiaosong Wang, 2016. "Learning from exporting in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 24(2), pages 299-334, April.
    8. Wang, Fang, 2014. "Complementarities between R&D investment and exporting—Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 217-227.
    9. repec:spr:chfecr:v:4:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1186_s40589-016-0044-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lee, Hyun-Hoon & Park, Donghyun & Wang, Jing, 2013. "Different types of firms, different types of products, and their dynamics: An anatomy of China's imports," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 62-77.
    11. Valeria, Gattai & Rajssa, Mechelli & Piergiovanna, Natale, 2016. "FDI and Heterogeneous Firms: Evidence from BRIC Countries," Working Papers 322, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 18 Jan 2016.
    12. Lin, Faqin, 2015. "Learning by exporting effect in China revisited: An instrumental Approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 1-13.
    13. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:3:p:445-455 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Exporter heterogeneity; Export entry and exit; Total factor productivity; Foreign affiliates;

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade


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