IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Exports, Foreign Direct Investments and Productivity: Are Services Firms Different?


  • Wagner, Joachim

    () (Leuphana University Lüneburg)


This paper contributes to the literature on international firm activities and firm performance by providing the first evidence on the link of productivity and both exports and foreign direct investment (fdi) in services firms from a highly developed country. It uses unique new data from Germany - one of the leading actors on the world market for services - that merge information from regular surveys and from a one-time special purpose survey performed by the Statistical Offices. Descriptive statistics, parametric and non-parametric statistical tests and regression analyses (with and without explicitly taking differences along the conditional productivity distribution and firms with extreme values, or outliers, into account) indicate that the productivity pecking order found in numerous studies using data for firms from manufacturing industries – where the firms with the highest productivity engage in fdi while the least productive firms serve the home market only and the productivity of exporting firms is in between – does not exist among firms from services industries. In line with the theoretical model and the empirical results for software firms from India provided by Bhattacharya, Patnaik and Shah (2010) there is evidence that firms with fdi are less productive than firms that export.

Suggested Citation

  • Wagner, Joachim, 2011. "Exports, Foreign Direct Investments and Productivity: Are Services Firms Different?," IZA Discussion Papers 6009, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6009

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alexander Vogel, 2009. "The German Business Services Statistics Panel 2003 to 2007," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(3), pages 515-522.
    2. Rudrani Bhattacharya & Ila Patnaik & Ajay Shah, 2012. "Export Versus FDI in Services," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(1), pages 61-78, January.
    3. Yannis Bilias & Roger Koenker, 2001. "Quantile regression for duration data: A reappraisal of the Pennsylvania Reemployment Bonus Experiments," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 199-220.
    4. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    5. Joachim Wagner, 2007. "Exports and Productivity: A Survey of the Evidence from Firm-level Data," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 60-82, January.
    6. Omar Arias & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Individual heterogeneity in the returns to schooling: instrumental variables quantile regression using twins data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 7-40.
    7. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
    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. repec:spr:weltar:v:144:y:2008:i:4:p:596-635 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
    13. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, March.
    14. Vincenzo Verardi & Christophe Croux, 2009. "Robust regression in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(3), pages 439-453, September.
    15. Alexander Eickelpasch & Alexander Vogel, 2009. "Determinants of Export Behaviour of German Business Services Companies," Working Paper Series in Economics 123, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    16. Helpman, Elhanan, 2011. "Understanding Global Trade," Economics Books, Harvard University Press, number 9780674060784, December.
    17. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    18. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-458, March.
    19. Mahmut Yasar & Carl H. Nelson & Roderick Rejesus, 2006. "Productivity and Exporting Status of Manufacturing Firms: Evidence from Quantile Regressions," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 142(4), pages 675-694, December.
    20. Alexander Vogel & Joachim Wagner, 2011. "Robust estimates of exporter productivity premia in German business services enterprises," Working Paper Series in Economics 207, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2015. "Service Trade and Productivity: Firm-level evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 15030, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Arvanitis, Spyros & Hollenstein, Heinz & Stucki, Tobias, 2016. "Does the explanatory power of the OLI approach differ among sectors and business functions? Evidence from firm-level data," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-46.

    More about this item


    exports; productivity; services firms; foreign direct investments;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.