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Why Do Some Firms Persistently Outperform Others? An investigation of the interactions between innovation and export strategies

  • ITO Keiko
  • LECHEVALIER Se'bastien

Although heterogeneity in the performance of firms is a well-established stylized fact, we still lack full understanding of its origins and the reasons why it persists. Instead of assuming that performance differences are exogenous, this paper focuses on two endogenous strategies - innovation and global engagement - and interprets them as two ways to accumulate knowledge and improve firms' capabilities. We are particularly interested in analyzing interactions between these strategies and their effect on firms' performance. By using a firm-level panel dataset drawn from a Japanese large-scale administrative survey for the years 1994 - 2003, we first find that innovation and exporting strategies are characterized by complementarities, which define coherent productive models or patterns of learning. Second, we show that these different strategies lead to various performances in terms of productivity and survival. Third, by using a propensity score matching approach, we show that these differences in performance are lasting. Overall, our paper shows that the interaction of innovation and export investments is a source of permanent differences in performance among firms.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) in its series Discussion papers with number 10037.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:10037
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  1. Giulia Faggio & Kjell Salvanes & John Van Reenen, 2007. "The Evolution of Inequality in Productivity and Wages: Panel Data Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0821, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. John R. Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2004. "Trade Liberalization: Export-market Participation, Productivity Growth, and Innovation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 372-392, Autumn.
  3. Stephen Bond & Dietmar Harhoff & John Van Reenen, 2003. "Investment, R&D and financial constraints in Britain and Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 771, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  5. Jože P. Damijan & Črt Kostevc, 2006. "Learning-by-Exporting: Continuous Productivity Improvements or Capacity Utilization Effects? Evidence from Slovenian Firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(3), pages 599-614, October.
  6. Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2010. "Global engagement and the innovation activities of firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 191-202, March.
  7. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  8. Kiyota, Kozo & Urata, Shujiro, 2008. "The role of multinational firms in international trade: The case of Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 338-352, August.
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  10. Davide Castellani & Antonello Zanfei, 2007. "Internationalisation, Innovation and Productivity: How Do Firms Differ in Italy?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 156-176, 01.
  11. Bee Yan Aw & Mark J. Roberts & Daniel Yi Xu, 2011. "R&D Investment, Exporting, and Productivity Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1312-44, June.
  12. Keiko Ito & Sébastien Lechevalier, 2009. "The evolution of the productivity dispersion of firms: a reevaluation of its determinants in the case of Japan," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 405-429, October.
  13. Jože P. Damijan & Črt Kostevc & Sašo Polanec, 2010. "From Innovation to Exporting or Vice Versa?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 374-398, 03.
  14. Kyoji Fukao & Hyeog Ug Kwon, 2005. "Why Did Japan's TFP Growth Slow Down in the Lost Decade? An Empirical Analysis Based on Firm-Level Data of Manufacturing Firms," Discussion papers 05004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  15. Roper, Stephen & Love, James H., 2002. "Innovation and export performance: evidence from the UK and German manufacturing plants," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1087-1102, September.
  16. Paul Geroski & Tobias Kretschmer & Chris Walters, 2009. "Corporate Productivity Growth: Champions, Leaders, And Laggards," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 1-17, 01.
  17. WAKASUGI Ryuhei & TODO Yasuyuki & SATO Hitoshi & NISHIOKA Shuichiro & MATSUURA Toshiyuki & ITO Banri & TANAKA Ayumu, 2008. "The Internationalization of Japanese Firms: New Findings Based on Firm-Level Data," Discussion papers 08036, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  18. Edwin Leuven & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing," Statistical Software Components S432001, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 19 Jan 2015.
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