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Service offshoring and export experience


  • Berlingieri, Giuseppe
  • Marcolin, Luca
  • Ornelas, Emanuel


Service inputs are a key component of the costs of exporting, and contribute to explain the process of internationalization of firms. A new dataset on the participation of French firms in global value chains reveals that firms with longer export experience in a market are more likely to source service inputs from there. We rationalize this fact in a model where firms are initially uncertain about how successful they are as exporters, but learn their export profitability as they keep selling abroad. Because offshoring requires larger sunk costs than domestic sourcing, some firms decide to offshore only when they become sufficiently confident about their export prospects, i.e., once they acquire enough export experience. More export experience in a foreign destination also induces firms to offshore within the boundaries of the firm rather than at arm's length. The model further implies that firms are more likely to offshore when frictions in the provision of services between the domestic and the foreign market are greater. In turn, offshoring firms sell greater volumes, display less volatility, and are less likely to exit foreign markets. Exploiting our novel dataset, we provide strong empirical support for each of these predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Berlingieri, Giuseppe & Marcolin, Luca & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2021. "Service offshoring and export experience," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 114380, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:114380

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kalina Manova, 2013. "Credit Constraints, Heterogeneous Firms, and International Trade," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 80(2), pages 711-744.
    2. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
    3. Monarch, Ryan & Park, Jooyoun & Sivadasan, Jagadeesh, 2017. "Domestic gains from offshoring? Evidence from TAA-linked U.S. microdata," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 150-173.
    4. Sébastien Miroudot & Charles Cadestin, 2017. "Services in Global Value Chains: Trade patterns and gains from specialisation," OECD Trade Policy Papers 208, OECD Publishing.
    5. Sébastien Miroudot & Charles Cadestin, 2017. "Services In Global Value Chains: From Inputs to Value-Creating Activities," OECD Trade Policy Papers 197, OECD Publishing.
    6. Timoshenko, Olga A., 2015. "Learning versus sunk costs explanations of export persistence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 113-128.
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    Cited by:

    1. Albornoz, Facundo & Calvo Pardo, Héctor F. & Corcos, Gregory & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2023. "Sequentially exporting products across countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C).
    2. Pisch, Frank & Berlingieri, Giuseppe, 2022. "Managing Export Complexity: The Role of Service Outsourcing," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 135680, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
    3. Kässi, Otto, 2022. "The Labor-market Effects of Service Offshoring: A Synthetic Control Approach with High-dimensional Microdata," ETLA Working Papers 97, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    4. Facundo Albornoz & Héctor F. Calvo Pardo & Gregory Corcos & Emanuel Ornelas, 2021. "Sequential Exporting across Countries and Products," CESifo Working Paper Series 9119, CESifo.
    5. Magli, Martina, 2022. "The Spillover Effect of Services Offshoring on Local Labour Markets," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 351, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    6. Martina Magli, 2022. "The spillover effect of services offshoring on local labour markets," CEP Discussion Papers dp1892, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Magli, Martina, 2022. "The spillover effect of services offshoring on local labour markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 118048, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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    More about this item


    export dynamics; commercial presence; global sourcing; services; firm boundaries;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services

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