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Firms’ International Status and Heterogeneity in Performance: Evidence From Italy


  • Alfredo Minerva

    (Università di Bologna)

  • Lorenzo Casaburi

    (Università di Bologna)

  • Valeria Gattai

    (Università di Bologna, ISESAO, Università Commerciale “L. Bocconi”)


This paper revisits the empirical evidence about the link between firms’ performance and their international status, based on a large sample of Italian enterprises. To this purpose, we merged two waves of the Capitalia survey (1998-2000, and 2001-2003) retrieving firm level data for roughly 7,000 units. Three results stand out from our empirical exercise. First, firms that engage in the foreign production of final goods, in addition to export activities, are more productive than firms that only export abroad. Second, firms that engage in final goods off-shoring are more productive than firms that engage in inputs off-shoring. Third, in terms of the productivity dynamics over the period 1998-2003, exporters’ performance in Italy was not any better than the non-exporters’ one. Our results support the view that the better performance (in static terms) of globally engaged firms is chiefly due to the selection caused by the fixed costs associated to international operations.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfredo Minerva & Lorenzo Casaburi & Valeria Gattai, 2008. "Firms’ International Status and Heterogeneity in Performance: Evidence From Italy," Working Papers 2008.3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2008.3

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniela Federici & Valentino Parisi, 2012. "Corporate Taxation and Exports," Working Papers 2012-01, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
    2. 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.
    3. Roberto Antonietti & Giulio Cainelli, 2010. "Innovation, productivity and export Evidence from Italy," Openloc Working Papers 1017, Public policies and local development.
    4. Valeria Gattai & Giorgia Sali, 2016. "FDI and heterogeneous performance of European enterprises," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(1), pages 25-65, March.
    5. Franco Amatori & Matteo Bugamelli & Andrea Colli, 2011. "Italian Firms in History: Size, Technology and Entrepreneurship," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 13, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. 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.
    7. Daniela Federici & Valentino Parisi, 2014. "Corporate Taxation and Exports: Evidence from Italian Firm-Level Data," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 4, pages 23-38, May.
    8. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "International trade and firm performance: a survey of empirical studies since 2006," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(2), pages 235-267, June.
    9. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Foreign exposure and heterogeneous performance of Italian firms: A survey of the empirical literature (1992-2014)," Working Papers 300, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2015.
    10. Davide Castellani & Giorgia Giovannetti, 2010. "Productivity and the international firm: dissecting heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 25-42.
    11. Holger Breinlich & Alessandra Tucci, 2011. "Foreign market conditions and export performance: does `crowdedness' reduce exports?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(3), pages 991-1019, August.
    12. 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


    Export; Heterogeneous Firms; Italy; Off-shoring; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F20 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - General
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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