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Exports and Manufacturing Productivity in East Asia: A Comparative Analysis with Firm-Level Data

  • Mary Hallward-Driemeier
  • Giuseppe Iarossi
  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff

This paper uses new firm level data from five East Asian countries to explore the patterns of manufacturing productivity across the region. One of the striking patterns that emerges is how the extent of openness and the competitiveness of markets affects the relative productivity of firms across the region. Firms with foreign ownership and firms that export are significantly more productive, and the productivity gap is larger the less developed is the local market. We exploit the rich set of firm characteristics available in the database to explore the sources of export firms' greater productivity. We argue that it is in aiming for export markets that firms make decisions that raise productivity. It is not simply that more-productive firms self-select into exporting; rather, firms that explicitly target export markets consistently make different decisions regarding investment, training, technology and the selection of inputs, and thus raise their productivity.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8894.

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Date of creation: Apr 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8894
Note: ITI PR
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  1. Young, Alwyn, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-80, August.
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  12. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  14. Dollar, David & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary, 2000. "Crisis, Adjustment, and Reform in Thailand's Industrial Firms," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 1-22, February.
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  19. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
  20. Tybout, James R. & Westbrook, M. Daniel, 1995. "Trade liberalization and the dimensions of efficiency change in Mexican manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 53-78, August.
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