IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

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.

    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: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    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 Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

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

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:21:y:2012:i:6:p:1099-1111
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    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. Robert M. Salomon & J. Myles Shaver, 2005. "Learning by Exporting: New Insights from Examining Firm Innovation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 431-460, 06.
    2. Caves, Richard E, 1974. "Multinational Firms, Competition, and Productivity in Host-Country Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 41(162), pages 176-93, May.
    3. Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "Multilateral Comparisons of Output, Input, and Productivity Using Superlative Index Numbers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(365), pages 73-86, March.
    5. Juan Alcácer & Wilbur Chung, 2007. "Location Strategies and Knowledge Spillovers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(5), pages 760-776, May.
    6. José C. Fariñas & Ana Martín-Marcos, 2007. "Exporting and Economic Performance: Firm-level Evidence of Spanish Manufacturing," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 618-646, 04.
    7. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "Learning-by-Exporting" Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," NBER Working Papers 5715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Wilbur Chung & W Mitchell & B Yeung, 2003. "Foreign direct investment and host country productivity: the American automotive component industry in the 1980s," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(2), pages 199-218, March.
    9. Bernard, A. & Wagner, J., 1996. "Exports and Success in German Manufacturing," Working papers 96-10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    10. Kox, Henk L.M. & Rojas Romasgosa, Hugo, 2010. "Exports and productivity selection effects for Dutch firms," MPRA Paper 24390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Y Wei & X Liu, 2006. "Productivity spillovers from R&D, exports and FDI in China's manufacturing sector," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 37(4), pages 544-557, July.
    12. Blomstrom, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1998. " Multinational Corporations and Spillovers," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 247-77, July.
    13. Lindstrand, Angelika & Eriksson, Kent & Sharma, D. Deo, 2009. "The perceived usefulness of knowledge supplied by foreign client networks," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 26-37, February.
    14. Robert Salomon & Byungchae Jin, 2008. "Does knowledge spill to leaders or laggards? Exploring industry heterogeneity in learning by exporting," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(1), pages 132-150, January.
    15. Jean-Emile Denis & Daniel Depelteau, 1985. "Market Knowledge, Diversification and Export Expansion," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(3), pages 77-89, September.
    16. Erol Taymaz, 2005. "Are Small Firms Really Less Productive?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 25(5), pages 429-445, December.
    17. Buckley, Peter J. & Wang, Chengqi & Clegg, Jeremy, 2007. "The impact of foreign ownership, local ownership and industry characteristics on spillover benefits from foreign direct investment in China," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 142-158, April.
    18. Bronwyn H. Hall., 1993. "Industrial Research During the 1980s: Did the Rate of Return Fall?," Economics Working Papers 93-217, University of California at Berkeley.
    19. Davide Castellani, 2002. "Export behavior and productivity growth: Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 138(4), pages 605-628, December.
    20. Bee Yan Aw & Mark J. Roberts & Tor Winston, 2007. "Export Market Participation, Investments in R&D and Worker Training, and the Evolution of Firm Productivity," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 83-104, 01.
    21. Davide Castellani & Antonello Zanfei, 2007. "Internationalisation, Innovation and Productivity: How Do Firms Differ in Italy?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 156-176, 01.
    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. Weijian Shan & Jaeyong Song, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Sourcing of Technological Advantage: Evidence from the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 28(2), pages 267-284, June.
    24. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    25. José Campa & Mauro F. Guillén, 1999. "The Internalization of Exports: Firm- and Location-Specific Factors in a Middle-Income Country," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(11), pages 1463-1478, November.
    26. Kogut, Bruce & Chang, Sea Jin, 1991. "Technological Capabilities and Japanese Foreign Direct Investment in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 401-13, August.
    27. 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.
    28. Haddad, Mona & Harrison, Ann, 1993. "Are there positive spillovers from direct foreign investment? : Evidence from panel data for Morocco," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 51-74, October.
    29. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and the Sustainability of Competitive Advantage: Reply," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1514-1514, December.
    30. 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.
    31. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
    32. 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.
    33. Walid Hejazi & A Edward Safarian, 1999. "Trade, Foreign Direct Investment, and R&D Spillovers," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(3), pages 491-511, September.
    34. Wilbur Chung & Juan Alcácer, 2002. "Knowledge Seeking and Location Choice of Foreign Direct Investment in the United States," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(12), pages 1534-1554, December.
    35. Love, James H. & Mansury, Mica Ariana, 2009. "Exporting and productivity in business services: Evidence from the United States," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 630-642, December.
    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:eee:iburev:v:21:y:2012:i:6:p:1099-1111. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

    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.