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Export Orientation and Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Catherine A. Pattillo
  • Taye Mengistae

Analysis of firm-level panel data from three sub-Saharan African economies shows that exporting manufacturers have a total factor productivity premium of 11-28 percent. The data do not allow testing of whether these premiums are caused by selection of more efficient producers into exporting or by learning-by-exporting. By thinking about the mechanisms behind selectivity and learning, however, our finding of higher premiums for direct exporters and exporters to outside Africa could be interpreted as being consistent with learning-by-exporting effects. However, if learning-by-exporting is indeed present in the data, we cannot disentangle its effect on productivity from those of more traditionally recognized channels of international technology diffusion.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 02/89.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 01 May 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/89
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  1. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  2. Paul Collier & Marcel Fafchamps & Francis Teal & Stefan Dercon, 2000. "Exports and Firm - level Efficiency in African Manufacturing," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. David T. Coe & Elhanan Helpman & Alexander Hoffmaister, 1995. "North-South R&D Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 5048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning By Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence From Colombia, Mexico, And Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947, August.
  5. Blomström, Magnus & Sjöholm, Fredrik, 1998. "Technology Transfer and Spillovers: Does Local Participation with Multinationals Matter?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 268, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jin-Tan Liu & Meng-Wen Tsou & James Hammitt, 1999. "Export activity and productivity: Evidence from the Taiwan electronics industry," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 135(4), pages 675-691, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Bee Yan Aw & Sukkyun Chung & Mark J. Roberts, 1998. "Productivity and the Decision to Export: Micro Evidence from Taiwan and South Korea," NBER Working Papers 6558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ann E. Harrison & Brian J. Aitken, 1999. "Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Direct Foreign Investment? Evidence from Venezuela," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 605-618, June.
  11. Helleiner, G.K., 1989. "Transnational corporations and direct foreign investment," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 27, pages 1441-1480 Elsevier.
  12. Aw, B. -Y. & Hwang, A. R., 1995. "Productivity and the export market: A firm-level analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 313-332, August.
  13. Grether, Jean-Marie, 1999. "Determinants of Technological Diffusion in Mexican Manufacturing: A Plant-Level Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1287-1298, July.
  14. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  15. MacDonald, James M, 1994. "Does Import Competition Force Efficient Production?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 721-27, November.
  16. Griffith, Rachel, 1999. "Using the ARD Establishment Level Data to Look at Foreign Ownership and Productivity in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F416-42, June.
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