IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Are the Benefits of Export Support Durable? Evidence from Tunisia


  • Cadot, Olivier
  • Fernandes, Ana
  • Gourdon, Julien
  • Mattoo, Aaditya


This paper evaluates the effects of the FAMEX export promotion program in Tunisia on the performance of beneficiary firms. While most studies assess only the short-term impact of such programs, we consider also the longer-term impact. Estimates suggest that beneficiaries initially saw both faster export growth and greater diversification across destinations and products. However, three years after the intervention, beneficiaries’ growth rates and export levels were not significantly different from those of a control group even though they remained more diversified. We confirm that this divergence between export growth and diversification is not due to small export transactions to new markets creating an illusion of diversification; to greater exposure of beneficiary firms to crisis-affected economies leading to stunted export growth; or to spillover benefits for non-beneficiary firms resulting in their catching-up in export sales. We find some evidence that the divergence may be related to constraints within the firm, such as limited experience and in-house export capacity; to external constraints, such as access to finance; and to the design and implementation of the FAMEX program which placed greater emphasis on diversification than on export growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Cadot, Olivier & Fernandes, Ana & Gourdon, Julien & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2013. "Are the Benefits of Export Support Durable? Evidence from Tunisia," CEPR Discussion Papers 9758, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9758

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    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. Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Emily Yu & Shenjie Chen, 2015. "The impact of trade promotion services on Canadian exporter performance," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1481-1512, November.
    3. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
    4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 105-130, Summer.
    5. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    6. Holger Görg & Michael Henry & Eric Strobl, 2008. "Grant Support and Exporting Activity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 168-174, February.
    7. van de Walle, Dominique & Mu, Ren, 2007. "Fungibility and the flypaper effect of project aid: Micro-evidence for Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 667-685, November.
    8. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    9. Christian Volpe Martincus & Jerónimo Carballo, 2010. "Is Export Promotion Effective in Developing Countries? Firm-Level Evidence on the Intensive and Extensive Margins of Exports," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 36763, Inter-American Development Bank.
    10. Krautheim, Sebastian, 2012. "Heterogeneous firms, exporter networks and the effect of distance on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 27-35.
    11. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0010-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Richard Kneller & Mauro Pisu, 2007. "Industrial Linkages and Export Spillovers from FDI," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 105-134, January.
    13. Steven Glazerman & Dan M. Levy & David Myers, "undated". "Nonexperimental Versus Experimental Estimates of Earnings Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 7c8bd68ac8db47caa57c70ee1, Mathematica Policy Research.
    14. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    15. Chen, Shaohua & Mu, Ren & Ravallion, Martin, 2009. "Are there lasting impacts of aid to poor areas?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 512-528, April.
    16. Florian Mayneris & Sandra Poncet, 2010. "Export Performance of China's Domestic Firms: the Role of Foreign Export Spillovers," Working Papers 2010-32, CEPII research center.
    17. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, September.
    18. Florian Mayneris & Sandra Poncet, 2015. "Chinese Firms' Entry to Export Markets: The Role of Foreign Export Spillovers," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 150-179.
    19. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2003. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1161-1189, July.
    20. Cadot, Olivier & Iacovone, Leonardo & Pierola, Martha Denisse & Rauch, Ferdinand, 2013. "Success and failure of African exporters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 284-296.
    21. Subramanian Rangan & Robert Z. Lawrence, 1999. "Search and Deliberation in International Exchange: Learning from Multinational Trade About Lags, Distance Effects, and Home Bias," NBER Working Papers 7012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
    23. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
    24. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    25. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
    26. Sourafel Girma & Yundan Gong & Holger Gˆrg & Zhihong Yu, 2009. "Can Production Subsidies Explain China's Export Performance? Evidence from Firm-level Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(4), pages 863-891, December.
    27. Andrew K. Rose, 2007. "The Foreign Service and Foreign Trade: Embassies as Export Promotion," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 22-38, January.
    28. Matthias Arnold, Jens & Javorcik, Beata S., 2009. "Gifted kids or pushy parents? Foreign direct investment and plant productivity in Indonesia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 42-53, September.
    29. Martin Ravallion, 2009. "Evaluation in the Practice of Development," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 29-53, March.
    30. Koenig, Pamina & Mayneris, Florian & Poncet, Sandra, 2010. "Local export spillovers in France," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 622-641, May.
    31. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    32. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=21146 is not listed on IDEAS
    33. World Bank, 2008. "Tunisia's Global Integration : Second Generation of Reforms to Boost Growth and Employment," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7893, The World Bank.
    34. repec:mpr:mprres:3694 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. 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.
    36. Olivier Cadot & Ana M. Fernandes & Julien Gourdon & Aaditya Mattoo, 2011. "Where to Spend the Next Million? Applying Impact Evaluation to Trade Assistance," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16358, March.
    37. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Carballo, Jerónimo, 2008. "Is export promotion effective in developing countries? Firm-level evidence on the intensive and the extensive margins of exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 89-106, September.
    38. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Carballo, Jerónimo, 2010. "Beyond the average effects: The distributional impacts of export promotion programs in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 201-214, July.
    39. Lederman, Daniel & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Payton, Lucy, 2010. "Export promotion agencies: Do they work?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 257-265, March.
    40. Todo, Yasuyuki, 2011. "Impacts of Aid-Funded Technical Assistance Programs: Firm-Level Evidence from the Indonesian Foundry Industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 351-362, March.
    41. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Carballo, Jerónimo, 2010. "Beyond the average effects: The distributional impacts of export promotion programs in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 201-214, July.
    42. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Jozef Konings & Christian Volpe Martincus, 2016. "Did export promotion help firms weather the crisis?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(88), pages 653-702.
    2. Olivier Cadot & Ana Fernandes & Julien Gourdon & Aaditya Mattoo & Jaime Melo, 2014. "Evaluating Aid for Trade: A Survey of Recent Studies," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 516-529, April.
    3. Vargas Da Cruz,Marcio Jose, 2014. "Do export promotion agencies promote new exporters ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7004, The World Bank.
    4. Fabrice Defever & José-Daniel Reyes & Alejandro Riaño & Gonzalo Varela, 2017. "All These Worlds Are Yours, Except India: The Effectiveness of Export Subsidies in Nepal," CESifo Working Paper Series 6418, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Waleed Omri & Audrey Becuwe, 2014. "Managerial characteristics and entrepreneurial internationalization: A study of Tunisian SMEs," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 8-42, March.
    6. repec:eee:inecon:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:19-33 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Broocks, Annette & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2017. "The impact of export promotion on export market entry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 19-33.
    8. Mélise Jaud & Caroline Freund, 2015. "Champions Wanted," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21638, March.
    9. Anna Fornalska-Skurczynska, 2015. "How To Effectively Support Export Activity?," Oeconomia Copernicana, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 6(3), pages 61-71, September.

    More about this item


    export margins; Export promotion; firms; impact evaluation; matching grant; propensity-score matching; Tunisia;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9758. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.