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Trade and technology: New evidence on the productivity sorting of firms

  • Bertschek, Irene
  • Hogrefe, Jan
  • Rasel, Fabienne

Using a unique German firm-level data set, we provide empirical evidence for a productivity sorting along two dimensions: international activity and technology choice. We consider domestic and exporting firms and measure technology choice by firms' actual use of advanced information technology (IT). For manufacturing firms, the observed sorting pattern is consistent with recent theories of heterogeneous firms and technology choice: Only the relatively more productive ones among internationally active firms are also highly technology intensive. For service sector firms we find similar evidence, yet the results seem to depend on the trade cost of certain services. In general, recent theoretical advances regarding trade and technology adoption thus seem to better fit the manufacturing sector.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 13-042.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13042
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  1. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "Exports, R&D and productivity: a test of the Bustos-model with German enterprise data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(3), pages 1942-1948.
  2. 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.
  3. Marc J. Melitz & Daniel Trefler, 2012. "Gains from Trade When Firms Matter," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 91-118, Spring.
  4. Paula Bustos, 2011. "Trade Liberalization, Exports, and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinian Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 304-40, February.
  5. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity... for Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099, August.
  6. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  7. Verardi, Vincenzo & Wagner, Joachim, 2010. "Productivity Premia for German Manufacturing Firms Exporting to the Euro-Area and Beyond: First Evidence from Robust Fixed Effects Estimations," IZA Discussion Papers 4964, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Vincenzo Verardi & Christophe Croux, 2009. "Robust regression in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(3), pages 439-453, September.
  10. Wilhelm Kohler & Marcel Smolka, 2009. "Global Sourcing Decisions and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 2903, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Alexander Vogel & Joachim Wagner, 2011. "Robust estimates of exporter productivity premia in German business services enterprises," Working Paper Series in Economics 207, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  12. Benjamin Engelst�tter, 2012. "It is not all about performance gains -- enterprise software and innovations," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 223-245, February.
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