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Firm Heterogeneity: do destinations of exports and origins of imports matter?

  • Francesco Serti
  • Chiara Tomasi

How do importing activities matter in explaining firm heterogeneity? How firm performances are related to foreign markets heterogeneity? Using a rich database on Italian manufacturing firms, this essay adds new evidence on the relationship between trade status and firm characteristics. We uncover evidence supporting recent theories on firm heterogeneity and international trade, together with some new facts. First, the availability of information on import and export enables us to differentiate firms involved in both trading activities - namely two-way traders - from firms that only export, and from those that only import. We show that firms engaged in both import and export outperform those involved in either importing or exporting only. Second, exploiting firm-level information on the destination of export and the origin of imports, we observe the heterogeneity among firms trading with different type of markets. We show that different destinations of exports and different origins of imports map into distinctive firm characteristics.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2008/14.

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Date of creation: 10 Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2008/14
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  1. The International Study Group on Exports and Productivity & Mauro Pisu, 2008. "Exports and productivity – comparable evidence for 14 countries," Working Paper Research 128, National Bank of Belgium.
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  8. 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.
  9. Frances Ruane & Julie Sutherland, 2005. "Export Performance and Destination Characteristics of Irish Manufacturing Industry," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 442-459, October.
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  23. Salvatore Baldone & Fabio Sdogati & Lucia Tajoli, 2002. "Moving to Central-Eastern Europe: Fragmentation of Production and Competitiveness of the European Textile and Apparel Industry," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 92(1), pages 209-282, January-F.
  24. 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.
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  26. Giulio Bottazzi & Marco Grazzi, 2007. "Wage structure in Italian Manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2007/05, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
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