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Do Firms Increase Productivity in Order to Become Exporters?*

Ricardo López

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2009, vol. 71, issue 5, 621-642

Abstract: Recent studies find that exporters are more productive than non‐exporters and that entry into exporting does not increase firms’ productivity. Thus, firms self‐select into foreign markets. This paper examines productivity before entry into exporting. Using Chilean plant‐level data, we find that productivity and investment increase before plants begin to export. Moreover, productivity of entrants to exporting, but not that of non‐exporters and exporters, increases in response to increases in foreign income, before entry but not after that. The results suggest that the productivity advantage of future exporters may be the result of firms increasing their productivity in order to export.

Date: 2009
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