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Learning-by-Doing, Learning-by-Exporting, and Productivity: Evidence from Colombia

  • Ana M. Fernandes
  • Alberto E. Isgut

The empirical evidence on whether participation in export markets increases plant-level productivity has been inconclusive so far. We explain this inconclusiveness by drawing on Arrow's (1962) characterization of learning-by-doing, which suggests focusing on young plants and using measures of export experience rather than export participation. We find strong evidence of learning-by-exporting for young Colombian manufacturing plants between 1981 and 1991: total factor productivity increases 4%-5% for each additional year a plant has exported, after controlling for the effect of current exports on total factor productivity. Learning-by-exporting is more important for young than for old plants and in industries that deliver a larger percentage of their exports to high-income countries.

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Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c010_018.

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Length: 59 pages JEL Classification: D21, F10, L60
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c010_018
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