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Learning from exporting: The moderating effect of technological capabilities

  • García, Francisco
  • Avella, Lucía
  • Fernández, Esteban
Registered author(s):

    There is evidence that exporters are more productive than non-exporters. Scholars argue that exporters may have access to knowledge spillovers in foreign markets and use this knowledge to become more efficient. However, we know little about whether learning from exporting is affected by firms’ heterogeneous resource endowments and, particularly, about the specific firm characteristics that matter the most in this respect. Utilizing a sample of 1534 Spanish manufacturing firms from 1990 to 2002, we empirically analyze whether a firm's technological capabilities (proxied by its relative R&D expenditures) affect its ability to learn from the interaction with foreign agents. We find that firm productivity increases after exporting for all firms. However, ex post productivity improvements are larger for the more technologically advanced firms than they are for their less technologically advanced counterparts. Our results show that some firms stand to benefit more from exporting than others and hint at the importance of absorptive capacity for knowledge acquisition overseas.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 6 ()
    Pages: 1099-1111

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:21:y:2012:i:6:p:1099-1111
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