Export Experience of Managers and the Internationalization of Firms
As the firm gravitates to the core analysis of international trade models, the possibilities to learn from the theory of the multinational enterprise developed in international business studies increase. The managerial resources and capabilities that are so emphasized in this theory for export initiation have largely been neglected in the empirical studies of international trade. Probably not because they are unimportant, but rather because of the challenge to identify and measure them. We exploit Danish employer-employee matched data to overcome this barrier and analyze the impact of managers’ international experience together with other managerial characteristics on the likelihood that the firm starts exporting. We find that productivity and fixed costs associated to exporting are not the sole determinants of the selection of firms into international markets, but “managerial inputs” are as important. Our data allows us to identify managers’ export experience based on the CEOs’ historical career as documented in official registry statistics. This puts our study apart from earlier survey based studies which rely on self-assessments.
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