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Barriers to exporting: Firm-Level Evidence from Germany


  • Christian Arndt

    (Institute for Applied Economic Research, IAW)

  • Claudia M. Buch

    (University of Tubingen and CESifo)

  • Anselm Mattes

    () (Institute for Applied Economic Research, IAW)


Recent literature stresses the importance of low productivity as a barrier to the international expansion of firms. But financial frictions or adverse employment conditions at home could matter as well. In this paper, we present new empirical evidence on the importance of these factors. We use a detailed micro-level dataset of German firms which simultaneously provides information on exports, financial frictions, and labor market conditions. Our paper has three main findings. First, in line with earlier literature, we find a positive impact of size and productivity on firms’ export activities. Second, financial constraints affect the entry into foreign market (extensive margin) more than the volume of exports (intensive margin). Third, labor market conditions have a mixed impact on export activities. The most consistent finding is that firms covered by collective bargaining agreements are less likely to be exporters and export less.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Arndt & Claudia M. Buch & Anselm Mattes, 2008. "Barriers to exporting: Firm-Level Evidence from Germany," Development Working Papers 268, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:268

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kalina Manova, 2013. "Credit Constraints, Heterogeneous Firms, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 711-744.
    2. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
    3. Joel Stiebale, 2011. "Do Financial Constraints Matter for Foreign Market Entry? A Firm‐level Examination," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 123-153, January.
    4. Greenaway, David & Guariglia, Alessandra & Kneller, Richard, 2007. "Financial factors and exporting decisions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 377-395, November.
    5. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
    6. Jun Du & Sourafel Girma, 2007. "Finance and Firm Export in China," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 37-54, February.
    7. Berman, Nicolas & Héricourt, Jérôme, 2010. "Financial factors and the margins of trade: Evidence from cross-country firm-level data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 206-217, November.
    8. Christian Arndt & Claudia Buch & Anselm Mattes, 2009. "Barriers to Internationalization: Firm-Level Evidence from Germany," IAW Discussion Papers 52, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Eickelpasch & Alexander Vogel, 2009. "Determinants of Export Behaviour of German Business Services Companies," Working Paper Series in Economics 123, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    2. Patricia Sourdin & Richard Pomfret, 2012. "Trade Facilitation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14596.

    More about this item


    multinational firms; exports; firm heterogeneity; productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services

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