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How foreign-born workers foster exports

Author

Listed:
  • Marchal, Léa
  • Nedoncelle, Clément

Abstract

We investigate the export-enhancing effect of foreign workers at the firm level. We first develop a theoretical framework of heterogeneous firms, assuming that foreign workers allow for productivity gains and convey valuable information on foreign markets. We illustrate that foreign workers foster exports at the extensive and the intensive margins. This effect can be decomposed in a general effect - to which any foreign worker contributes - and a destination-specific effect - to which only foreign workers who were born in the export destination contribute. We test these theoretical predictions using French firm-level data over the 1997-2008 period and a propensity score matching method to address endogeneity concerns. We find that foreign-born workers, and especially skilled individuals, foster exports at both margins. On average, a firm employing foreign-born workers exports 30% more in value than a control firm. We find evidence that this increase is spread over all destinations, suggesting that the effect of foreign-born workers goes beyond a destination-specific informational channel.

Suggested Citation

  • Marchal, Léa & Nedoncelle, Clément, 2017. "How foreign-born workers foster exports," Kiel Working Papers 2071, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:2071
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Sala, Davide, 2016. "Ethnic diversity and firms' export behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 248-263.
    2. Matilde Bombardini & Gianluca Orefice & Maria D. Tito, 2015. "Does Exporting Improve Matching? Evidence from French Employer-Employee Data," NBER Working Papers 21225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Andreas Hatzigeorgiou & Magnus Lodefalk, 2015. "Trade, Migration and Integration – Evidence and Policy Implications," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(12), pages 2013-2048, December.
    4. Trax, Michaela & Brunow, Stephan & Suedekum, Jens, 2015. "Cultural diversity and plant-level productivity," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 85-96.
    5. Sanne Hiller, 2013. "Does immigrant employment matter for export sales? Evidence from Denmark," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(2), pages 369-394, June.
    6. repec:eee:eecrev:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:62-82 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Pytlikova, Mariola, 2014. "Labor diversity and firm productivity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 144-179.
    8. Mitaritonna, Cristina & Orefice, Gianluca & Peri, Giovanni, 2017. "Immigrants and firms’ outcomes: Evidence from France," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 62-82.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Foreign-born workers; Exports; Firms; Heterogeneity; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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