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Learning to Export: Evidence from Moroccan Manufacturing


  • Marcel Fafchamps

    (Centre for the Study of African Economies)

  • Said El Hamine

    (Ministere du Commerce, Rabat, Morocco)

  • Albert Zeufack

    (The World Bank)


This paper tests two alternative models of learning to export: producitivity learning, whereby firms learn to reduce production costs, and market learning, whereby firms learn to design products that appeal to foreign consumers. Using panel and cross-reaction data on Moroccan manufacturers, we uncover evidence of market learning but little evidence of productivity learning. These findings are consistent with the concentration of Moroccan manufacturing exports in consumer items, i.e. the garment, textile, and leather sectors. It is the young firms that export. Most do so immediately after creation. We also find that, among exporters, new products are exported very rapidly after production has begun. The share of exported output nevertheless increases for 2-3 years after a new product is introduced. Old firms are unlikely to switch to exports, even in response to changes in macro incentives. We find a positive relationship between exports and productivity and conclude that it is the result of self-selection: it is the more productive firms that move into exports. Policy implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Fafchamps & Said El Hamine & Albert Zeufack, 2004. "Learning to Export: Evidence from Moroccan Manufacturing," Development and Comp Systems 0409049, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0409049
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 45

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    Cited by:

    1. Fernandes, Ana M. & Isgut, Alberto E., 2005. "Learning-by-doing, learning-by-exporting, and productivity : evidence from Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3544, The World Bank.
    2. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
    3. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2010. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 822-842, November.
    4. Harabi, Najib, 2005. "Determinants of Firm Growth: An Empirical Analysis from Morocco," MPRA Paper 4394, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Catherine Pattillo & Måns Soderbom & Francis Teal & Albert Zeu, 2004. "Do African Manufacturing Firms Learn from Exporting?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 115-141.
    6. Marcel Fafchampsm & Måns Söderbom, 2006. "Wages and Labor Management in African Manufacturing," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
    7. Marcel Fafchamps & Mans Söderbom & Najy Benhassine, 2009. "Wage Gaps and Job Sorting in African Manufacturing," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(5), pages 824-868, November.
    8. Edwards, Lawrence & Rankin, Neil A. & Schöer, Volker, 2008. "South African exporting firms: What do we know and what should we know?," MPRA Paper 16906, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Kazuhiko Yokota & Akinori Tomohara, 2009. "Extending the Learning-By-Exporting Hypothesis: Introducing a Credit Constraint," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 15(2), pages 169-177, May.
    10. Mélise Jaud & Caroline Freund, 2015. "Champions Wanted," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21638.
    11. repec:kap:iaecre:v:15:y:2009:i:2:p:169-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Harabi, Najib, 2003. "Déterminants de la croissance des entreprises: Une analyse empirique du Maroc
      [Determinants of Firm Growth: An Empirical Analysis from Morocco]
      ," MPRA Paper 4440, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Economic Systems

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