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Anatomy of Learning-from-Exporting: Role of foreign knowledge acquisition

  • YASHIRO Naomitsu
  • HIRANO Daisuke
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    The essence of learning-from-exporting can be thought of as a process in which exporters absorb international knowledge spillovers and feed it back to their innovation efforts. Learning-from-exporting is often difficult to observe because it is conditional on at least two efforts: information gathering from foreign markets and zealous R&D. We exploit unique survey data to explicitly analyze the contribution of these activities to exporters' innovation. We find that gathering information from foreign markets significantly raises exporters' probability of succeeding in technology upgrades or new product developments, along with their R&D activities. While learning about the latest foreign technology and competitor products is at the core of such knowledge acquisition, international marketing activities, such as gathering feedback from foreign customers or information on the taste and needs of foreign customers, is also associated with a significant contribution. The importance of foreign knowledge acquisition is also confirmed for exporters that do not serve high-income markets or those that supply intermediate goods. Although it is likely that the acquisition of foreign knowledge contributes to exporters' innovation strategies, such as where to allocate R&D resources, it does not seem to raise the marginal effectiveness of R&D.

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    Paper provided by Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) in its series Discussion papers with number 10053.

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    Length: 41 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:10053
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    1. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Thierry Mayer, . "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 12, June.
    2. Albert G. Z. Hu & Gary H. Jefferson & Qian Jinchang, 2005. "R&D and Technology Transfer: Firm-Level Evidence from Chinese Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 780-786, November.
    3. Sofronis Clerides & Saul Lach & James Tybout, 1996. "Is "learning-by-exporting" important? Micro-dynamic evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2006. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," Working Papers 549, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    5. Verhoogen, Eric, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 2913, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Fukunari Kimura & Kozo Kiyota, 2006. "Exports, FDI, and Productivity: Dynamic Evidence from Japanese Firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(4), pages 695-719, December.
    7. Ederington, Josh & McCalman, Phillip, 2008. "Endogenous firm heterogeneity and the dynamics of trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 422-440, March.
    8. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity... for Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099, August.
    9. S├ębastien Miroudot & Rainer Lanz & Alexandros Ragoussis, 2009. "Trade in Intermediate Goods and Services," OECD Trade Policy Papers 93, OECD Publishing.
    10. 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).
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