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A Note on Detecting Learning by Exporting

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  • Jan De Loecker

Abstract

Learning by exporting refers to the mechanism whereby firms improve their performance (productivity) after entering export markets. Although this mechanism is often mentioned in policy documents, a significant share of econometric studies has not found evidence for this hypothesis. This paper shows that the methods used to come to the latter conclusion suffer from a large internal inconsistency: they rely on an exogenous evolving productivity process. I show how recent proxy estimators can accommodate endogenous productivity processes such as learning by exporting. I rely on my framework to discuss the bias introduced by ignoring such a process and how adjusting for it can lead to detect significant productivity gains upon export entry. I estimate my model on standard firm-level data and find substantial additional productivity gains from entering export markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan De Loecker, 2010. "A Note on Detecting Learning by Exporting," NBER Working Papers 16548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16548
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    1. 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.
    2. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
    3. Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Product Differentiation, Multiproduct Firms, and Estimating the Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1407-1451, September.
    4. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
    5. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. De Loecker, Jan, 2007. "Do exports generate higher productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 69-98, September.
    7. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wsi:medjxx:v:03:y:2011:i:02:n:s1793812011000399 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wagner, Joachim, 2011. "Productivity and International Firm Activities: What Do We Know?," IZA Policy Papers 23, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jan De Loecker & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit K. Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik, 2016. "Prices, Markups, and Trade Reform," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 445-510, March.
    4. Ramona Dumitriu & Razvan Stefanescu, 2015. "The Relationship Between Romanian Exports And Economic Growth After The Adhesion To European Union," Risk in Contemporary Economy, "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, pages 17-26.
    5. DU, Julan & LU, Yi & TAO, Zhigang & YU, Linhui, 2012. "Do domestic and foreign exporters differ in learning by exporting? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 296-315.
    6. Seok, Byoung Hoon, 2011. "Growth and Global Imbalances: The Role of Learning-by-Exporting," MPRA Paper 49484, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Aug 2013.
    7. Seok, Byoung Hoon, 2011. "Growth and Global Imbalances: The Role of Learning-by-Exporting," MPRA Paper 46506, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Mar 2013.
    8. Armando Silva, 2011. "Financial Constraints and Exports: Evidence from Portuguese Manufacturing Firms," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 4(3), pages 7-19, December.
    9. Beneito, Pilar & Rochina-Barrachina, María Engracia & Sanchis, Amparo, 2015. "The path of R&D efficiency over time," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 57-69.
    10. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "International trade and firm performance: a survey of empirical studies since 2006," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(2), pages 235-267, June.
    11. Yong-Seok Choi & Siwook Lee, 2013. "Productivity, Markups and Export Intensity: Evidence from Korean Manufacturing," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 29, pages 329-350.
    12. Itzhak Goldberg & John Gabriel Goddard & Smita Kuriakose & Jean-Louis Racine, 2011. "Igniting Innovation : Rethinking the Role of Government in Emerging Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2358, July.

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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