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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. Hiroyuki Kasahara & Joel Rodrigue, 2005. "Does the Use of Imported Intermediates Increase Productivity? Plant-Level Evidence," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20057, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  2. Mirabelle Mu�ls & Mauro Pisu, 2009. "Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm: Evidence from Belgium," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(5), pages 692-734, 05.
  3. Fergal McCann, 2009. "Importing, Exporting and Productivity in Irish Manufacturing," Working Papers 200922, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1611-1638, December.
  6. 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.
  7. De Loecker, Jan & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Markups and Firm-level Export Status," CEPR Discussion Papers 7450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Tor Jakob Klette & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "The Inconsistency of Common Scales Estimators when Output Prices are Unobserved and Endogenous," Discussion Papers 127, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  13. Rizov, Marian & Walsh, Patrick Paul, 2007. "Productivity and Trade Orientation in UK Manufacturing," IZA Discussion Papers 2808, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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