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Importing, productivity and SMEs: firm-level evidence from the Netherlands

  • M.R. van den Berg

Constructing a comprehensive data set covering Dutch firms over the years 2002-2008 I am the first to investigate the relationship between trade status, firm size and firm-level productivity in the Netherlands, thereby focusing particularly on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The empirical evidence can be summarized in four stylized facts. The productivity ranking by trade status of Dutch manufacturing firms in increasing order of productivity is: non-traders, importers, exporters and two-way traders. Firm size and being controlled by a company located abroad are positively associated with firm-level productivity. The results point in the direction of self-selection of more productive manufacturing firms into importing, particularly for firms that did not trade altogether prior to the import start and for build-up periods of two and three years towards the import start. I do not find evidence that firms become more productive after an import start because of learning effects. I find considerable heterogeneity in the productivity premia of trade along the firm size distribution. The results suggest that exporting is more complex than sourcing inputs internationally for small firms relative to larger firms.

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File URL: http://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/290034/13-07.pdf
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Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-07.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1307
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  1. 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 545-64, September.
  2. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity; Evidence from Indonesia," IMF Working Papers 05/146, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Joachim Wagner, 2010. "From estimation results to stylized facts. Twelve recommendations for empirical research in international activities of heterogeneous firms," Working Paper Series in Economics 186, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  4. Ram C. Acharya & Wolfgang Keller, 2007. "Technology Transfer through Imports," NBER Working Papers 13086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Henk Kox & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2010. "Exports and Productivity Selection Effects for Dutch Firms," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 295-322, September.
  6. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  7. Martin Andersson & Hans Lööf & Sara Johansson, 2008. "Productivity and International Trade: Firm Level Evidence from a Small Open Economy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 144(4), pages 774-801, December.
  8. Hagemejer, Jan & Kolasa, Marcin, 2008. "Internationalization and economic performance of enterprises: evidence from firm-level data," MPRA Paper 8720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  10. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  11. Edwin Leuven & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing," Statistical Software Components S432001, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 19 Jan 2015.
  12. Hans Lööf & Martin Andersson, 2010. "Imports, Productivity and Origin Markets: The Role of Knowledge-intensive Economies," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 458-481, 03.
  13. Eriksson, Tor & Smeets, Valerie & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Small Open Economy Firms in International Trade: Evidence from Danish Transactions-Level Data," Working Papers 09-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
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