Are Services Different Exporters?
Using an unbalanced panel of about 260,000 Swedish firm-level observations over the period 1997-2006, this paper shows that half of the firms exporting goods are service firms that account for a substantial and increasing share of the total value from exports of goods. Between 1997 and 2006 this fraction increased from 25% to 34%. Previous research provides little systematic evidence of this extension of goods exports among service firms or the benefits of exporting. This paper shows that service firms do become exporters for the same reasons as manufacturing firms. Besides, they are a self-selection of larger, more productive and high-equity firms, with more skilled labour, higher capital intensity and stronger links to multinational groups. However, the export productivity premium is larger for service firms than for manufacturers. No evidence is found to indicate that exporting increases the growth rate of productivity. In contrast, the annual employment growth premium from exporting is substantial for business services, 2% per year, compared to 0.5% for the retail and wholesale business.
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