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Is \"learning-by-exporting\" important? Micro-dynamic evidence from Colombia, Mexico and Morocco

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  • Sofronis Clerides
  • Saul Lach
  • James Tybout

Abstract

Is there any empirical evidence that firms become more efficient after becoming exporters? Do firms that become exporters generate positive spillovers for domestically-oriented producers in their industry or region? In this paper we analyze the causal links between exporting and productivity using firm-level panel data from three semi-industrialized economies. Representing export market participation and production costs as jointly dependent autoregressive processes, we look for evidence that firms' stochastic cost process shifts when they break into foreign markets. We find that relatively more efficient firms become exporters, and that their costs are not affected by previous export market participation. This implies that self-selection of the more efficient firms into the export market, and not earning-by-exporting, explains the efficiency gap between exporter and non-exporters previously documented in the literature. Further, we find some evidence that exporters reduce the costs of breaking into foreign markets for domestically oriented producers, but do not appear to help these producers become more efficient.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:96-30
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    References listed on IDEAS

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      Keywords

      Colombia; Exports; Morocco; Mexico;
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