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Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco

Listed author(s):
  • Sofronis K. Clerides
  • Saul Lach
  • James R. Tybout

Do firms become more efficient after becoming exporters? Do exporters generate positive externalities for domestically oriented producers? In this paper we tackle these questions by analyzing the causal links between exporting and productivity using plant-level data. We look for evidence that firms' cost processes change after they break into foreign markets. We find that relatively efficient firms become exporters; however, in most industries, firms' costs are not affected by previous exporting activities. So the well-documented positive association between exporting and efficiency is explained by the self-selection of the more efficient firms into the export market. We also find some evidence of positive regional externalities.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355398555784
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 113 (1998)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 903-947

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:903-947.
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  1. Aitken, Brian & Hanson, Gordon H. & Harrison, Ann E., 1997. "Spillovers, foreign investment, and export behavior," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 103-132, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Roberts, M. & Tybout, J., 1993. "An Empirical Model of Sunk Costs and the Decision to Export," Papers 4-93-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. Richard Baldwin, 1989. "Sunk-Cost Hysteresis," NBER Working Papers 2911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Handoussa, Heba & Nishimizu, Mieko & Page, John Jr., 1986. "Productivity change in Egyptian public sector industries after the opening, 1973-1979," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 53-73.
  6. 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.
  7. Tybout, James R. & Westbrook, M. Daniel, 1995. "Trade liberalization and the dimensions of efficiency change in Mexican manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 53-78, August.
  8. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-638, June.
  9. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert & Runkle, David, 1988. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Estimating the Impact of Heterogeneity with Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1232-1266, December.
  10. Chen, Tain-jy & Tang, De-piao, 1987. "Comparing technical efficiency between import-substitution-oriented and export-oriented foreign firms in a developing economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 277-289, August.
  11. Guilkey, David K. & Murphy, James L., 1993. "Estimation and testing in the random effects probit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 301-317, October.
  12. Haddad, Mona, 1993. "How trade liberalization affected productivity in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1096, The World Bank.
  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.
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