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Learning by Exporting, Importing or Both? Estimating productivity with multi-product firms, pricing heterogeneity and the role of international trade

In this paper, we analyze the relationship between exporting/importing status and firm productivity. We use a rich product-firm-level dataset providing both revenue and quantities of all products for a large panel of Danish manufacturing firms over the period 1998-2005 and link it to another dataset describing firms’ international trade transactions by product. We use our detailed product level information to compute a firm level deflator and avoid the criticism of biased estimates due to the use of industry level deflator. We find that both importing and exporting behaviours are strongly associated with productivity, but firms involved in both importing and exporting are the most productive. We also find evidence of a self-selection into importing and exporting but no learning effect. Finally, we try to distinguish between cost effect and product quality effect by analyzing the importance of the origin of imports and the destination of exports. We find that both imports from countries with abundant and cheap labor like China and from countries with similar level of development matter, although the mechanism through which productivity is affected is likely to be different. In addition, exporting to more distant OECD economies is more strongly associated to productivity than exporting to neighboring or other EU countries, especially when controlling for the price specific effect

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Paper provided by University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10-13.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2010_013
Contact details of provider: Postal:
The Aarhus School of Business, Prismet, Silkeborgvej 2, DK 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Phone: +45 89 486396
Fax: +45 8615 5175
Web page: http://www.asb.dk/departments/nat.aspx

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  1. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2009. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," NBER Working Papers 15342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-61, July-Aug..
  4. Mirabelle Muûls & Mauro Pisu, 2007. "Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm: Evidence from Belgium," CEP Discussion Papers dp0801, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. De Loecker, Jan & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Markups and Firm-level Export Status," CEPR Discussion Papers 7450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitability enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 333-371, December.
  7. Jan De Loecker, 2007. "Product Differentiation, Multi-product Firms and Estimating the Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 13155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Exporting Raises Productivity in Sub-Saharan African Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 10020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rizov, Marian & Walsh, Patrick Paul, 2007. "Productivity and Trade Orientation in UK Manufacturing," IZA Discussion Papers 2808, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Carlo Altomonte & Gabor Békés, 2009. "Trade Complexity and Productivity," KITeS Working Papers 016, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2009.
  11. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  12. Fergal McCann, 2009. "Importing, exporting and productivity in Irish manufacturing," Working Papers 200922, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  13. Amiti, Mary & Konings, Jozef, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Joel Rodrigue & Hiroyuki Kasahara, 2004. "Does the Use of Imported Intermediates Increase Productivity? Plant-Level Evidence," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 511, Econometric Society.
  15. John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson & Lucia Foster, 2010. "The Slow Growth of New Plants: Learning about Demand?," 2010 Meeting Papers 106, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Davide Castellani & Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2010. "Firms in International Trade: Importers' and Exporters' Heterogeneity in Italian Manufacturing Industry," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 424-457, 03.
  18. Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2009. "Self-selection along different export and import markets," LEM Papers Series 2009/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  19. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2009. "On estimating firm-level production functions using proxy variables to control for unobservables," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 112-114, September.
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