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Firm location and the determinants of exporting in developing countries

  • Farole, Thomas
  • Winkler, Deborah

Using a cross-section of more than 40,000 manufacturing and services firms in 79 developing countries from the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys Database, this paper assesses how firm location determines the likelihood and extent of exporting in developing countries. Descriptive statistics confirm higher export participation (but not intensity) for firms in core versus non-core regions, despite the finding that firms in the core assess many aspects of the investment climate more negatively. Results from a probit model show that, in addition to firm-specific characteristics, both regional investment climate and agglomeration factors have a significant impact on export participation. Specifically, customs clearance and electricity quality matter for export participation for manufacturing firms. Although localization economies and export spillovers are associated with increased exporting, the opposite is found for urbanization economies for both manufacturing and services firms. The analysis finds that firm-level determinants of exporting matter more for firms located in non-core regions, while regional determinants and agglomeration economies play a larger role in core regions. The findings point to the presence of congestion costs in the core, and suggest that policy interventions to target export participation are likely to have a greater impact if they are focused on core regions over non-core regions, where firm-specific factors predominate. Moreover, the importance of export spillovers and localization economies highlights the potential value of efforts to remove barriers to natural agglomeration both in core and non-core regions, for example through investments in infrastructure, the provision of social services, and regional integration arrangements.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5780.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5780
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  1. KOENIG, Pamina & MAYNERIS, Florian & PONCET, Sandra, . "Local export spillovers in France," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2225, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Pamina Koenig, 2005. "Agglomeration and the Export Decision of French Firms," Working Papers 2005-02, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  3. Amiti, Mary & Javorcik, Beata, 2005. "Trade Costs and Location of Foreign Firms in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 4978, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Joel Deichmann & Socrates Karidis & Selin Sayek, 2003. "Foreign direct investment in Turkey: regional determinants," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(16), pages 1767-1778.
  5. Jonathan L. Willis & Kim J. Ruhl, 2009. "New Exporter Dynamics," 2009 Meeting Papers 111, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Jonathan Eaton & Marcela Eslava & Maurice Kugler & James Tybout, 2007. "Export Dynamics in Colombia: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aitken, Brian & Hanson, Gordon H. & Harrison, Ann E., 1997. "Spillovers, foreign investment, and export behavior," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 103-132, August.
  8. Roberto Antonietti & Giulio Cainelli, 2011. "The role of spatial agglomeration in a structural model of innovation, productivity and export: a firm-level analysis," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 577-600, June.
  9. Rosina Moreno & Raffaele Paci & Stefano Usai, 2005. "Spatial spillovers and innovation activity in European regions," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(10), pages 1793-1812, October.
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