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Exports and Productivity Growth – First Evidence from a Continuous Treatment Approach

  • Hemlut Fryges

    ()

    (Centre of Economic Research, Mannheim)

  • Joachim Wagner

    ()

    (Leuphana University of Lueneburg)

A recent survey of 54 micro-econometric studies reveals that exporting firms are more productive than non-exporters. On the other hand, previous empirical studies show that exporting does not necessarily improve productivity. One possible reason for this result is that most previous studies are restricted to analysing the relationship between a firm’s export status and the growth of its labour productivity, using the firms’ export status as a binary treatment variable and comparing the performance of exporting and non-exporting firms. In this paper, we apply the newly developed generalised propensity score (GPS) methodology that allows for continuous treatment, that is, different levels of the firms’ export activities. Using the GPS method and a large panel data set for German manufacturing firms, we estimate the relationship between a firm’s export-sales ratio and its labour productivity growth rate. We find that there is a causal effect of firms’ export activities on labour productivity growth. However, exporting improves labour productivity growth only within a sub-interval of the range of firms’ export-sales ratios.

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Paper provided by University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 49.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:49
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://leuphana.de/institute/ivwl.html

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  1. 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.
  2. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  5. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 1997. "Exports and success in German manufacturing," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 134-157, March.
  6. Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2010. "Global engagement and the innovation activities of firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 191-202, March.
  7. Joachim Wagner, 2003. "Unobserved firm heterogeneity and the size-exports nexus: Evidence from German panel data," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 161-172, March.
  8. Davide Castellani, 2002. "Export behavior and productivity growth: Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 138(4), pages 605-628, December.
  9. Lenn Gomes & Kannan Ramaswamy, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of the Form of the Relationship Between Multinationality and Performance," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(1), pages 173-187, March.
  10. Fryges, Helmut, 2006. "Hidden champions - how young and small technology-oriented firms can attain high export-sales ratios," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-45, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. 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.
  12. Brian Aitken & Gordon H. Hanson & Ann E. Harrison, 1994. "Spillovers, Foreign Investment, and Export Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Zvi Griliches, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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).
  15. Wagner, Joachim, 2006. "International Firm Activities and Innovation: Evidence from Knowledge Production Functions for German Firms," HWWA Discussion Papers 344, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  16. Riahi-Belkaoui, Ahmed, 1998. "The effects of the degree of internationalization on firm performance," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 315-321, June.
  17. Jere R. Behrman & Yingmei Cheng & Petra E. Todd, 2004. "Evaluating Preschool Programs When Length of Exposure to the Program Varies: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 108-132, February.
  18. Fryges, Helmut, 2006. "The Export-Growth Relationship: Estimating a Dose-Response Function," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-28, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  19. Wagner, Joachim, 2001. "The causal effects of exports on firm size and labor productivity: First evidence from a matching approach," HWWA Discussion Papers 155, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  20. Daniel Sullivan, 1994. "Measuring the Degree of Internationalization of a Firm," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(2), pages 325-342, June.
  21. Salvador Barrios & Holger Goerg & Eric Strobl, 2003. "Explaining Firms' Export Behaviour: R&D, Spillovers and the Destination Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(4), pages 475-496, 09.
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  23. Sourafel Girma & David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2004. "Does Exporting Increase Productivity? A Microeconometric Analysis of Matched Firms," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 855-866, November.
  24. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-32, Nov.-Dec..
  25. 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.
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  29. Joseph Hilbe, 1993. "Generalized linear models," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(11).
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