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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. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
  2. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Rodrigue, Joel, 2008. "Does the use of imported intermediates increase productivity? Plant-level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 106-118, August.
  3. Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2009. "Markups and firm-level export status," NBER Working Papers 15198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gabor Békés & Carlo Altomonte, 2009. "Trade Complexity and Productivity," Working Papers 2009.62, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Marian Rizov & Patrick Paul Walsh, 2009. "Productivity and Trade Orientation in UK Manufacturing," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(6), pages 821-849, December.
  8. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2012. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 379-436.
  9. 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.
  10. Klette, T.J., 1992. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators when Output Prices are unobserved and Endogenous," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1586, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Marcela Eslava & John Haltiwanger & Adriana Kugler & Maurice Kugler, 2004. "The Effect of Structural Reforms on Productivity and Profitability Enhancing Reallocation: Evidence from Colombia," NBER Working Papers 10367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mary Amiti & Jozef G Konings, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity; Evidence from Indonesia," IMF Working Papers 05/146, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2012. "The Slow Growth of New Plants: Learning about Demand?," Working Papers 12-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Fergal McCann, 2009. "Importing, exporting and productivity in Irish manufacturing," Working Papers 200922, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  18. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  19. 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.
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