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Self-selection along different export and import markets


  • Francesco Serti
  • Chiara Tomasi


How are firms' performances influenced by the specific characteristics of markets where exports are directed and imports originate from? Using a rich database on Italian manufacturing firms, this essay adds new evidence on the relationship between trade status and firm characteristics. First, 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. Second, we test the hypothesis that the self-selection mechanisms occur market to market. We observe that firms exporting to and importing from high income countries face higher sunk costs than those trading with less developed markets. Third, we investigate the underlying sources of these ex-ante differences by looking at how countries' characteristics such as population, exchange rate, productivity and distance may impact on firms' performances.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2009. "Self-selection along different export and import markets," LEM Papers Series 2009/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2009/18

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    Cited by:

    1. M.R. van den Berg & C. van Marrewijk, 2013. "Imports and productivity: the impact of geography and factor intensity," Working Papers 13-12, Utrecht School of Economics.
    2. Valeria Gattai & Valentina Trovato, 2014. "Estimating sourcing premia with Italian regional data," Working Papers 276, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
    3. Fernanda Ricotta, 2016. "Productivity Differences By Export Destination," Working Papers 201601, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    4. Joachim Wagner, 2011. "From Estimation Results to Stylized Facts Twelve Recommendations for Empirical Research in International Activities of Heterogeneous Firms," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(4), pages 389-412, December.
    5. David Powell & Joachim Wagner, 2010. "The Exporter Productivity Premium along the Productivity Distribution: First Evidence from a Quantile Regression Approach for Fixed Effects Panel Data Models," Working Paper Series in Economics 182, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    6. David Powell & Joachim Wagner, 2011. "The Exporter Productivity Premium along the Productivity Distribution Evidence from Unconditional Quantile Regression with Firm Fixed Effects," Working Papers 837, RAND Corporation.
    7. Sharma, Chandan & Mishra, Ritesh Kumar, 2015. "International trade and performance of firms: Unraveling export, import and productivity puzzle," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 61-74.
    8. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Internationalisation and performance at the firm-level: what we learn from Italy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 475-509, December.
    9. Maria Rosaria Ferrante & Marzia Freo, 2012. "The Total Factor Productivity Gap between Internationalised and Domestic Firms: Net Premium or Heterogeneity Effect?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(9), pages 1186-1214, September.
    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. Vincenzo Verardi & Joachim Wagner, 2012. "Productivity Premia for German Manufacturing Firms Exporting to the Euro-Area and Beyond: First Evidence from Robust Fixed Effects Estimations," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(6), pages 694-712, June.
    12. Smeets, Valérie & Warzynski, Frédéric, 2010. "Learning by Exporting, Importing or Both? Estimating productivity with multi-product firms, pricing heterogeneity and the role of international trade," Working Papers 10-13, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    13. David Powell & Joachim Wagner, 2014. "The exporter productivity premium along the productivity distribution: evidence from quantile regression with nonadditive firm fixed effects," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(4), pages 763-785, November.

    More about this item


    heterogeneous firms; exports; imports; productivity; market of destination and origin;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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