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Exports and productivity : comparable evidence for 14 countries

  • Lionel Nesta


  • Flora Bellone

    (Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion)

  • Patrick Musso

    (Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion)

  • Liza Jabbour

    (Birmingham Business School)

  • Stefano Schiavo


We use comparable micro level panel data for 14 countries and a set of identically specified empirical models to investigate the relationship between exports and productivity. Our overall results are in line with the big picture that is by now familiar from the literature: Exporters are more productive than non-exporters when observed and unobserved heterogeneity are controlled for, and these exporter productivity premia tend to increase with the share of exports in total sales; there is strong evidence in favour of self-selection of more productive firms into export markets, but nearly no evidence in favour of the learning-by-exporting hypothesis. We document that the exporter premia differ considerably across countries in identically specified empirical models. In a meta-analysis of our results we find that countries that are more open and have more effective government report higher productivity premia. However, the level of development per se does not appear to be an explanation for the observed cross-country differences.

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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 2007-36.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/6118
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  1. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity ... for Some Plants," NBER Working Papers 13297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James E. Rauch & Joel Watson, 1999. "Starting Small in an Unfamiliar Environment," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1218, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jože P. Damijan & Črt Kostevc, 2006. "Learning-by-Exporting: Continuous Productivity Improvements or Capacity Utilization Effects? Evidence from Slovenian Firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(3), pages 599-614, October.
  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. 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. Bernard, A., 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," Working papers 97-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Ricardo A. López, 2005. "Trade and Growth: Reconciling the Macroeconomic and Microeconomic Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 623-648, 09.
  9. Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2007. "Self Selection and Post-Entry effects of Exports. Evidence from Italian Manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2007/20, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Exporting Raises Productivity in Sub-Saharan African Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 10020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Juan A. Máñez & María E. Rochina-Barrachina & Juan A. Sanchis, 2008. "Sunk Costs Hysteresis in Spanish Manufacturing Exports," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 144(2), pages 272-294, July.
  12. 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).
  13. Isgut, Alberto & Fernandes, Ana, 2007. "Learning-by-Exporting Effects: Are They for Real?," MPRA Paper 3121, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  15. Andrew B. Bernard, 2004. "Exporting and Productivity in the USA," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 343-357, Autumn.
  16. Mirabelle Muuls & Mauro Pisu, 2007. "Imports and exports at the level of the firm: evidence from Belgium," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19711, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 105-130, Summer.
  18. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Revisiting Some Productivity Debates," NBER Working Papers 10065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Andersson, Martin, 2007. "Entry costs and adjustments on the extensive margin - an analysis of how familiarity breeds exports," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 81, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  20. Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. Joze P. Damijan & Saso Polanec & Janez Prasnikar, 2004. "Self-selection, Export Market Heterogeneity and Productivity Improvements: Firm Level Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 14804, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  22. Mary Hallward-Driemeier & Giuseppe Iarossi & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2002. "Exports and Manufacturing Productivity in East Asia: A Comparative Analysis with Firm-Level Data," NBER Working Papers 8894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2001. "Multinational Companies and Productivity Spillovers: A Meta-analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(475), pages F723-39, November.
  24. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
  25. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150.
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