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The Impact of Exports on Innovation: Theory and Evidence

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  • Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud, Matthieu Lequien, Marc J. Melitz

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of export shocks on innovation. On the one hand a positive shock increases market size and therefore innovation incentives for all firms. On the other hand it increases competition as more firms enter the export market. This in turn reduces profits and therefore innovation incentives particularly for firms with low productivity. Overall the positive impact of the export shock on innovation is magnified for high productivity firms, whereas it may negatively affect innovation in low productivity firms. We test this prediction with patent, customs and production data covering all French manufacturing firms. To address potential endogeneity issues, we construct firm-level export proxies which respond to aggregate conditions in a firm's export destinations but are exogenous to firm-level decisions. We show that patenting robustly increases more with export demand for initially more productive firms. This effect is reversed for the least productive firms as the negative competition effect dominates.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud, Matthieu Lequien, Marc J. Melitz, 2018. "The Impact of Exports on Innovation: Theory and Evidence," Working papers 678, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:678
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation; trade; export; demand shocks; patents;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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