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Exporting from manufacturing firms in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Francis Teal
  • Neil Rankin
  • University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract

The poor performance of many African economies has been associated with low growth of exports in general and of manufacturing exports in particular. In this paper we draw on micro evidence of manufacturing firms in five African countries - Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria - to investigate the cause of poor exporting performance. We exploit a data set which has a much longer panel dimension than has been used before to assess the relative importance of self-selection based on efficiency and firm size as determinants of export participation. We show that firm size is a robust determinant of the decision to export. It is not a proxy for efficiency, for capital intensity, for sector or for time-invariant unobservables. In contrast the evidence for self-selection into exporting is very weak. Finally our use of a longer run panel than has been available before has allowed us to separate out the roles of ownership and skills as possible determinants of participation in exporting. We find that both foreign ownership and skills are significant determinants of exporting.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis Teal & Neil Rankin & University of the Witwatersrand, 2005. "Exporting from manufacturing firms in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-036, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:gprg-wps-036
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
    2. Soderbom, Mans & Teal, Francis, 2004. "Size and efficiency in African manufacturing firms: evidence from firm-level panel data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 369-394, February.
    3. 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.
    4. A. Isgut, 2001. "What's Different about Exporters? Evidence from Colombian Manufacturing," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(5), pages 57-82.
    5. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2004. "Why Some Firms Export," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 561-569, May.
    6. Måns S–derbom & Francis Teal, 2003. "Are Manufacturing Exports the Key to Economic Success in Africa?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(1), pages 1-29, March.
    7. 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 545-564, September.
    8. M. Soderbaum & F. Teal, 2000. "Skills, Investment and Exports from Manufacturing Firms in Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 13-43.
    9. Francis Teal & Måns Söderbom & Francis Teal, 2000. "Skills, investment and exports from manufacturing firms in Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-08, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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