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Exports, Imports and Profitability: First Evidence for Manufacturing Enterprises

  • Wagner, Joachim


    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

This paper documents for the first time the relationship between profitability and three types of international trade activities – exports, imports and two-way trade. It uses unique new representative data for manufacturing enterprises from Germany, one of the leading actors on the world market for goods, that merge information from surveys performed by the Statistical Offices and administrative data collected by the Tax Authorities. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis (with and without controlling for unobserved firm heterogeneity and the role of outliers) point to the absence of any statistically significant and economically large effects of trade activities on profits. This demonstrates that any productivity advantages of trading firms are eaten up by extra costs related to selling and buying on foreign markets.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5766.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Open Economies Review, 2012, 23 (5), 747-765
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5766
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  1. Henk Kox & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2010. "Exports and Productivity Selection Effects for Dutch Firms," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 295-322, September.
  2. Wagner, Joachim, 2005. "Exports and Productivity : A survey of the evidence from firm level data," HWWA Discussion Papers 319, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  3. Fryges, Helmut & Wagner, Joachim, 2008. "Exports and Profitability: First Evidence for German Manufacturing Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 3798, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Temouri, Yama & Vogel, Alexander & Wagner, Joachim, 2013. "Self-selection into export markets by business services firms – Evidence from France, Germany and the United Kingdom," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 146-158.
  5. Vincenzo Verardi & Joachim Wagner, 2010. "Robust Estimation of Linear Fixed Effects Panel Data Models with an Application to the Exporter Productivity Premium," Working Paper Series in Economics 168, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  6. Vincenzo Verardi & Christophe Croux, 2009. "Robust regression in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(3), pages 439-453, September.
  7. Delgado, Miguel A. & Farinas, Jose C. & Ruano, Sonia, 2002. "Firm productivity and export markets: a non-parametric approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 397-422, August.
  8. Alexander Vogel & Joachim Wagner, 2008. "Higher Productivity in Importing German Manufacturing Firms: Self-selection, Learning from Importing, or Both?," Working Paper Series in Economics 106, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  9. Maria Caterina Bramati & Christophe Croux, 2007. "Robust estimators for the fixed effects panel data model," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 10(3), pages 521-540, November.
  10. repec:spr:weltar:v:144:y:2008:i:4:p:596-635 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Marco Grazzi, 2009. "Trade and Profitability: Is there an export premium? Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2009/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  12. Alexander Vogel & Joachim Wagner, 2010. "Exports and Profitability - First Evidence for German Business Services Enterprises," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 56(1), pages 7-30.
  13. Alexander Vogel & Stefan Dittrich, 2008. "The German turnover tax statistics panel," Working Paper Series in Economics 92, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  14. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Do exporters really pay higher wages? First evidence from German linked employer-employee data," Working Paper Series in Economics 28, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  15. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
  16. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-58, March.
  17. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  18. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2010. "Higher wages in exporting firms: self-selection, export effect, or both? First evidence from linked employer-employee data," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(2), pages 303-322, June.
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