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Exporters and importers of services: firm-level evidence on Italy

Author

Listed:
  • Stefano Federico

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Enrico Tosti

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

This work contributes to the small but growing body of literature on international trade in services at firm level. Our dataset, based on a new Bank of Italy survey, provides information on exports and imports of services (excluding transportation and travel) in 2008-09 for almost 3,000 Italian industrial and services firms, divided by partner country and type of service. We report a set of stylized facts on trade in services. We also analyze the choice between export and foreign direct investment in services at the firm level, thus innovating with respect to the previous literature using industry data. The main findings are as follows: the export and import of services is highly concentrated in just a few firms; firm-level variation in trade is positively correlated with firm size and productivity; country-level variation is to a large extent explained by the standard gravity variables; distance strongly reduces trade in services in spite of their intangibility; smaller and less productive firms choose to export rather than sell through foreign affiliates.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Federico & Enrico Tosti, 2012. "Exporters and importers of services: firm-level evidence on Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 877, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_877_12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Bripi & David Loschiavo & Davide Revelli, 2017. "Services trade and credit frictions: evidence from matched bank-firm data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1110, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Ariu, Andrea, 2016. "Crisis-proof services: Why trade in services did not suffer during the 2008–2009 collapse," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 138-149.
    3. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:9:p:1866-1889 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stefano Federico & Enrico Tosti, 2017. "Exporters and Importers of Services: Firm-Level Evidence on Italy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(10), pages 2078-2096, October.
    5. Tanja GrubljeÅ¡iÄ & Jože Damijan, 2011. "From Differences in Export Behavior of Services and Manufacturing Firms in Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 29511, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    6. Andrea Ariu, 2012. "Services versus goods trade: Are they the same?," Working Paper Research 237, National Bank of Belgium.
    7. Peter S. Eppinger, 2014. "Exploiting the Potential for Services Offshoring: Evidence from German Firms," IAW Discussion Papers 109, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    8. Elisabeth Christen & Michael Pfaffermayr & Yvonne Wolfmayr, 2017. "Decomposing Service Exports Adjustments along the Intensive and Extensive Margin at the Firm-Level," WIFO Working Papers 537, WIFO.
    9. Lodefalk, Magnus, 2015. "Servification of Firms and Trade Policy Implications," Working Papers 2015:1, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 17 May 2016.
    10. Andrea Ariu & Giordano Mion, 2017. "Service Trade and Occupational Tasks: An Empirical Investigation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(9), pages 1866-1889, September.
    11. Iza Lejárraga & Harald Oberhofer, 2015. "Performance of small- and medium-sized enterprises in services trade: evidence from French firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 673-702, October.
    12. Dincer, Nergiz & Tekin-Koru, Ayça, 2015. "A League of Their Own: Services Exporters –A Developing Country Perspective-," MPRA Paper 64363, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Biewen, Elena & Harsch, Daniela & Spies, Julia, 2012. "The determinants of service imports: The role of cost pressure and financial constraints," Discussion Papers 31/2012, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    14. Konstantins Benkovskis & Olegs Tkacevs, 2015. "Everything you always wanted to know about Latvia's service exporters (but were afraid to ask)," Working Papers 2015/06, Latvijas Banka.
    15. Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas & Lodefalk, Magnus, 2015. "The Role of Foreign Networks for Firm Export of Services," Working Papers 2015:6, Örebro University, School of Business.
    16. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Foreign exposure and heterogeneous performance of Italian firms: A survey of the empirical literature (1992-2014)," Working Papers 300, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2015.
    17. Andrea ARIU, 2013. "Services versus Goods Trade: Are They the Same?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    18. Stefanie Haller & Jože Damijan & Ville Kaitila & Črt Kostevc & Mika Maliranta & Emmanuel Milet & Daniel Mirza & Matija Rojec, 2014. "Trading firms in the services sectors: comparable evidence from four EU countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(3), pages 471-505, August.
    19. Markus Kelle, 2012. "Crossing Industry Borders: German Manufacturers as Services Exporters," wiiw Working Papers 92, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    20. Dincer, N. Nergiz & Tekin-Koru, Ayca, 2017. "Gains from trade due to within-firm productivity: Does services exporting matter?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 11, pages 1-17.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade in services; firm heterogeneity; intensive and extensive margin; foreign affliates; export versus FDI;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L80 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - General

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