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Exporting and Productivity: The Importance of Reallocation

  • Andrew B Bernard
  • J Bradford Jensen

Exporting is often touted as a way to increase economic growth. This paper examines whether exporting has played any role in increasing productivity growth in U.S. manufacturing. While exporting plants have substantially higher productivity levels, there is no evidence that exporting increases plant productivity growth rates. However, within the same industry, exporters do grow faster than non-exporters in terms of both shipments and employment. Exporting is associated with the reallocation of resources from less ecient to more ecient plants. In the aggregate, these reallocation eects are quite large, making up over 40% of total factor productivity growth in the manufacturing sector. Half of this reallocation to more productive plants occurs within industries and the direction of the reallocation is towards exporting plants. The positive contribution of exporters also shows up in import-competing industries and non-tradable sectors.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 01-02.

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Date of creation: Jun 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:01-02
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  1. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 2001. "Export entry and exit by German firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 105-123, March.
  2. Bernard, A. & Wagner, J., 1996. "Exports and Success in German Manufacturing," Working papers 96-10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Bee Yan Aw & Xiaomin Chen & Mark J. Roberts, 1997. "Firm-level Evidence on Productivity Differentials, Turnover, and Exports in Taiwanese Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 6235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  6. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  8. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Marin, Dalia, 1992. "Is the Export-led Growth Hypothesis Valid for Industrialized Countries?," Munich Reprints in Economics 3112, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Ben-David, Dan, 1993. "Equalizing Exchange: Trade Liberalization and Income Convergence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 653-79, August.
  11. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  12. 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.
  13. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  14. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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