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Productivity and the international firm: dissecting heterogeneity

Author

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  • Davide Castellani

    (University of Perugia)

  • Giorgia Giovannetti

    (University of Florence, European University Institute and Fondazione Manlio MASI-ICE)

Abstract

Firms in competitive markets are more likely achieve higher productivity. Indeed a better performance of multinationals and exporters with respect to domestic firms has been documented in the literature. The sources of these premia have however largely remained a black box: standard theoretical models consider differences in productivity as the results of a random draw. Only recently models have acknowledged that in competitive environments, firms are more likely to adopt new technologies. This theoretical framework reconciles recent empirical work noting that productivity differences among firms can be explained by different managerial practices, I.T. and organizational capital. In this paper, using an original dataset on Italian firms, we show that the higher use of knowledge workers (such as R&D workers, as well as workers in managerial and clerical occupations) explains some of the TFP premium of exporters and multinational firms. Our results suggest that TFP differences are not only the results in different constant in the production function between international and noninternational firms, but they rather reflect differences in the slopes of the production function. In fact, allowing for different returns to inputs between domestic and international firms, we explain all of the productivity premium and beyond. This is the result of the fact that multinational firms are both more capital intensive and exhibit higher returns to capital. Furthermore, we find that managers and capital are complements in the productivity of multinational firms. This is consistent with the idea that multinational firms have superior organizational capabilities and managerial practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Castellani & Giorgia Giovannetti, 2009. "Productivity and the international firm: dissecting heterogeneity," Development Working Papers 270, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:270
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonietti,Roberto & Marzucchi,Alberto, 2013. "Green investment strategies and export performance: A firm-level investigation," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201302, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
    2. Andrea Lasagni & Annamaria Nifo & Gaetano Vecchione, 2015. "Firm Productivity And Institutional Quality: Evidence From Italian Industry," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(5), pages 774-800, November.
    3. Valeria Gattai & Valentina Trovato, 2014. "Estimating sourcing premia with Italian regional data," Working Papers 276, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
    4. Alessandro Borin & Michele Mancini, 2016. "Foreign direct investment and firm performance: an empirical analysis of Italian firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(4), pages 705-732, November.
    5. Naudé, Wim & Gries, Thomas & Bilkic, Natasa, 2015. "Playing the lottery or dressing up? A model of firm-level heterogeneity and the decision to export," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1-17.
    6. Arvanitis, Spyros & Hollenstein, Heinz & Stucki, Tobias, 2016. "Does the explanatory power of the OLI approach differ among sectors and business functions? Evidence from firm-level data," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-46.
    7. Koska, Onur A. & Long, Ngo Van & Staehler, Frank, 2015. "Foreign Direct Investment as a Signal," MPRA Paper 68025, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Viroj Jienwatcharamongkhol & Sam Tavassoli, 2015. "Closing the gap: empirical evidence on firms’ innovation, productivity and exports," Chapters,in: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy, chapter 12, pages 281-309 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Fulvio Castellacci, 2014. "Service Firms Heterogeneity, International Collaborations and Export Participation," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 259-285, June.
    10. Anna Maria Ferragina & Fernanda Mazzotta, 2014. "Agglomeration economies and global activities: impact on firm survival," ERSA conference papers ersa14p348, European Regional Science Association.
    11. Gattai Valeria & Trovato Valentina, 2016. "Estimating Sourcing Premia Using Italian Regional Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, pages 1029-1067.
    12. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Internationalisation and performance at the firm-level: what we learn from Italy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 475-509, December.
    13. Annamaria Nifo & Domenico Scalera, 2011. "Structural Changes in Italian Industry: The Impact of Crisis. A Comment on the Book Edited by Laura Rondi and Francesco Silva," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 2, June.
    14. Valter Di Giacinto & Matteo Gomellini & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2014. "Mapping local productivity advantages in Italy: industrial districts, cities or both?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 365-394.
    15. Giorgia Giovannetti & Giorgio Ricchiuti & Margherita Velucchi, 2013. "Heterogeneity in managerial strategies and internationalization of firms: the case of Italy," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(2), pages 51-66.
    16. Naudé, Wim & Gries, Thomas & Bilkic, Natasa, 2013. "Firm-Level Heterogeneity and the Decision to Export: A Real Option Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 7346, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Péter Harasztosi, 2011. "Growth in Hungary 1994-2008: The role of capital, labour, productivity and reallocation," MNB Working Papers 2011/12, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
    18. Giulio Cainelli & Eleonora Di Maria & Roberto Ganau, 2011. "Agglomeration, related-variety and internationalisation. Does a relationship exist?," Openloc Working Papers 1114, Public policies and local development.
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    20. Castellacci, Fulvio, 2010. "Firm heterogeneity, international cooperations and export participation," MPRA Paper 27585, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Curzi, Daniele & Olper, Alessandro, 2012. "Export behavior of Italian food firms: Does product quality matter?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 493-503.
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    23. Békés, Gábor & Halpern, László & Muraközy, Balázs, 2011. "A teremtő rombolás szerepe a vállalati termelékenység alakulásában Magyarországon
      [The role of creative destruction in the development of corporate productivity in Hungary]
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    24. De Masi, G. & Giovannetti, G. & Ricchiuti, G., 2013. "Network analysis to detect common strategies in Italian foreign direct investment," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(5), pages 1202-1214.
    25. Riccardo Cristadoro & Leandro D’Aurizio, 2015. "The Italian Firms’ International Activity," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 261, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity; tfp; competition; management; mode of internationalization;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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