IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-07.

in new window

Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1307
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 80125, NL-3508 TC Utrecht

Phone: +31 30 253 9800
Fax: +31 30 253 7373
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Henk Kox & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2010. "Exports and productivity selection effects for Dutch firms," CPB Discussion Paper 143, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  2. 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.
  3. Amiti, Mary & Konings, Jozef, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Jan Hagemejer & Marcin Kolasa, 2008. "Internationalization and economic performance of enterprises: evidence from firm-level data," National Bank of Poland Working Papers 51, National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Ram C. Acharya & Wolfgang Keller, 2009. "Technology transfer through imports," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1411-1448, November.
  11. David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2007. "Firm heterogeneity, exporting and foreign direct investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F134-F161, 02.
  12. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1307. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marina Muilwijk)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.