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Importing, Exporting and the Productivity of Services Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Neil Foster-McGregor


    (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)

  • Anders Isaksson
  • Florian Kaulich

Abstract In this paper we examine productivity differences between trading and non-trading firms in the services sector using recently collected data on a sample of 19 sub-Saharan African firms. A variety of parametric and non-parametric tests are implemented in order to examine whether exporters, importers and two-way traders perform better than non-traders, and whether there are differences in performance between different types of trading firms. Our results indicate that services firms that are engaged in international trade perform significantly better than those firms that trade on the domestic market only. Two-way traders and exporters only are found to perform better than importers only, with no significant difference in performance found between two-way traders and exporters only. We further present evidence indicating that there is no significant difference in performance between export starters and export continuers, a result consistent with the self-selection hypothesis for African services firms.

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Paper provided by The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw in its series wiiw Working Papers with number 98.

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Length: 26 pages including 12 Tables
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as wiiw Working Paper
Handle: RePEc:wii:wpaper:98
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  1. 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.
  2. Neil Foster-McGregor & Anders Isaksson & Florian Kaulich, 2014. "Importing, exporting and performance in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(2), pages 309-336, May.
  3. Joseph F. Francois & B. Hoekman, 2009. "Services Trade and Policy," wiiw Working Papers 60, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  4. Davide Castellani & Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi, 2008. "Firms in International Trade: Importers and Exporters Heterogeneity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry," LEM Papers Series 2008/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  5. Ivan A. Canay, 2011. "A simple approach to quantile regression for panel data," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 14(3), pages 368-386, October.
  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. Paul Collier & Marcel Fafchamps & Francis Teal & Stefan Dercon, 2002. "Do African Manufacturing Firms Learn from Exporting?," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2002-09, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Delgado, Miguel A. & Farinas, Jose C. & Ruano, Sonia, 2002. "Firm productivity and export markets: a non-parametric approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 397-422, August.
  9. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, September.
  10. Joachim Wagner, 2005. "Exports and Productivity: A Survey of the Evidence fro Firm Level Data," International Trade 0504005, EconWPA.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Mirabelle Muûls & Mauro Pisu, 2007. "Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm : Evidence from Belgium," Working Paper Research 114, National Bank of Belgium.
  14. Koenker, Roger, 2004. "Quantile regression for longitudinal data," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 74-89, October.
  15. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "Export Versus FDI in Services," IMF Working Papers 10/290, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Alexander Vogel & Joachim Wagner, 2008. "Higher Productivity in Importing German Manufacturing Firms: Self-selection, Learning from Importing, or Both?," Working Paper Series in Economics 106, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  17. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
  18. Richard Harris & Catherine Robinson, 2003. "Foreign Ownership and Productivity in the United Kingdom Estimates for U.K. Manufacturing Using the ARD," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 22(3), pages 207-223, May.
  19. Pedro Martins & Yong Yang, 2009. "The impact of exporting on firm productivity: a meta-analysis of the learning-by-exporting hypothesis," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 145(3), pages 431-445, October.
  20. Harris, Richard D, 2002. "Foreign Ownership and Productivity in the United Kingdom--Some Issues When Using the ARD Establishment Level Data," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(3), pages 318-35, August.
  21. repec:ran:wpaper:710-1 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Yasar, Mahmut & Morrison Paul, Catherine J., 2007. "International linkages and productivity at the plant level: Foreign direct investment, exports, imports and licensing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 373-388, April.
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