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Why Some Firms Export


  • Andrew B. Bernard

    (Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • J. Bradford Jensen

    (Institute for International Economics)


This paper examines the factors that increase the probability of entry into exporting. Using a panel of U.S. manufacturing plants, we test for the role of plant characteristics, spillovers from neighboring exporters, entry costs, and government export promotion expenditures. Entry and exit in the export market by U.S. plants is substantial, past exporters are apt to reenter, and plants are likely to export in consecutive years. However, we find that entry costs are significant and spillovers from the export activity of other plants are negligible. State export promotion expenditures have no significant effect on the probability of exporting. Plant characteristics, especially those indicative of past success, strongly increase the probability of exporting, as does changing industries. © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2004. "Why Some Firms Export," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 561-569, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:86:y:2004:i:2:p:561-569

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. 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.
    3. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1989. "The Revenues-Expenditures Nexus: Evidence from Local Government Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 415-429, May.
    4. Richard Baldwin & Paul Krugman, 1989. "Persistent Trade Effects of Large Exchange Rate Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 635-654.
    5. 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.
    6. Paul Krugman, 1992. "Geography and Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262610868, July.
    7. Baldwin, Richard, 1988. "Hyteresis in Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 773-785, September.
    8. Brainard, S Lael, 1997. "An Empirical Assessment of the Proximity-Concentration Trade-off between Multinational Sales and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 520-544, September.
    9. Card, David & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1988. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements in and out of Employment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 497-530, May.
    10. Avinash Dixit, 1989. "Hysteresis, Import Penetration, and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 205-228.
    11. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1992. "On the Estimation of Panel-Data Models with Serial Correlation When Instruments Are Not Strictly Exogenous," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-9, January.
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    JEL classification:

    • F20 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - General
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory


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