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Exports and Productivity Selection Effects for Dutch Firms

  • Henk Kox


  • Hugo Rojas-Romagosa


The paper investigates whether the self-selection hypothesis and other predictions from the heterogeneous-firms trade models can explain the export participation patterns for Dutch firms in manufacturing and services. The results provide strong support for the self-selection hypothesis, according to which firms need higher productivity performance to compensate for sunk entry costs in export markets. After controlling for many firm and market characteristics we robustly find higher productivity levels for exporters. The paper also tests for the reverse causality (learning-by-exporting), but finds no empirical support for it, not even after controlling for the firm's distance to a constructed international productivity frontier. This latter result may be important for the motivation of future export promotion policies. The empirical estimates are achieved by probit regressions at the plant level and at the firm level. As a robustness test we also applied the more standard OLS panel regression estimates, which provided similar results. The paper also tested whether the productivity-export link is conditional on the sectoral market structure and multinational affiliation. Services sectors with high competition and a lower degree of product differentiation have significantly higher export productivity premia than services firms in less competitive sectors. Such differences are not found in the manufacturing sector.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal De Economist.

Volume (Year): 158 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 295-322

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Handle: RePEc:kap:decono:v:158:y:2010:i:3:p:295-322
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  1. Facundo Albornoz & Hector F. Calvo Pardo & Gregory Corcos & Emanuel Ornelas, 2010. "Sequential Exporting," Discussion Papers 10-08, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Falling Trade Costs, Heterogeneous Firms, and Industry Dynamics," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm357, Yale School of Management.
  3. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  4. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  6. 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.
  7. Richard Kneller & Mauro Pisu, 2010. "The returns to exporting: evidence from UK firms," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(2), pages 494-519, May.
  8. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. 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).
  10. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0795, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
  13. Evenson, Robert E. & Westphal, Larry E., 1995. "Technological change and technology strategy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2209-2299 Elsevier.
  14. Richard Baldwin, 2005. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade: Testable and Untestable Properties of the Melitz Model," NBER Working Papers 11471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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