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Barriers to Internationalization: Firm-Level Evidence from Germany




Exporters and multinationals are larger and more productive than their domestic counterparts. In addition to productivity, financial constraints and labor market constraints might constitute barriers to entry into foreign markets. We present new empirical evidence on the extensive and intensive margin of exports and FDI based on detailed micro-level data of German firms. Our paper has three main findings. First, in line with earlier literature, we find a positive impact of firm size and productivity on firms’ international activities. Second, small firms suffer more frequently from financial constraints than bigger firms, but financial conditions have no strong effect on internationalization. Third, labor market constraints constitute a more severe barrier to foreign activities than financial constraints. Being covered by collective bargaining particularly impedes international activities.

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  • Christian Arndt & Claudia Buch & Anselm Mattes, 2009. "Barriers to Internationalization: Firm-Level Evidence from Germany," IAW Discussion Papers 52, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bee Yan Aw & Mark J. Roberts & Daniel Yi Xu, 2011. "R&D Investment, Exporting, and Productivity Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1312-1344, June.
    2. Kalina Manova, 2013. "Credit Constraints, Heterogeneous Firms, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 711-744.
    3. Flora Bellone & Patrick Musso & Lionel Nesta & Stefano Schiavo, 2008. "Financial Constraints as a Barrier to Export Participation," Post-Print hal-01074250, HAL.
    4. Joel Stiebale, 2011. "Do Financial Constraints Matter for Foreign Market Entry? A Firm‐level Examination," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 123-153, January.
    5. George, Rejie & Kabir, Rezaul & Qian, Jing, 2011. "Investment-cash flow sensitivity and financing constraints: New evidence from Indian business group firms," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 69-88, April.
    6. Greenaway, David & Guariglia, Alessandra & Kneller, Richard, 2007. "Financial factors and exporting decisions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 377-395, November.
    7. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
    8. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
    9. Jun Du & Sourafel Girma, 2007. "Finance and Firm Export in China," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 37-54, February.
    10. Berman, Nicolas & Héricourt, Jérôme, 2010. "Financial factors and the margins of trade: Evidence from cross-country firm-level data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 206-217, November.
    11. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2012. "Country Size, International Trade, and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(6), pages 1083-1132.
    2. Strasser, Georg, 2013. "Exchange rate pass-through and credit constraints," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 25-38.
    3. Christian Arndt & Claudia M. Buch & Anselm Mattes, 2009. "Firm-Specific Factor Market Constraints and FDI: Evidence from Germany," Development Working Papers 269, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    4. Li Junjiang & Hou Lei & Zhang Jiarui, 2011. "Capital endowment, credit constraint and FDI: Analysis based on heterogeneous firms," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer;Higher Education Press, vol. 6(1), pages 55-75, March.
    5. Pietrasieñski Pawe³ & Œlusarczyk Beata, 2015. "Internationalization Of Small And Medium Enterprises – Empirical Research Review On Barriers To Entry Into Foreign Markets," Polish Journal of Management Studies, Czestochowa Technical University, Department of Management, vol. 11(1), pages 113-123, June.

    More about this item


    foreign direct investment; exports; firm heterogeneity; productivity; financial constraints; labor market constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services

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