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Export Market Participation, Investments in R&D and Worker Training, and the Evolution of Firm Productivity

Bee Yan Aw, Mark Roberts () and Tor Winston

The World Economy, 2007, vol. 30, issue 1, 83-104

Abstract: This paper uses micro panel data for firms in the Taiwanese electronics industry in 1986, 1991 and 1996 to investigate a firm's decision to invest in two sources of knowledge – participation in the export market and investments in R&D and/or worker training – and assess their effect on the firm's future productivity. The firm's decisions to export and invest in R&D and/or worker training are modelled with a bivariate probit model that recognises the interdependence of the decisions. The effect of these investments on the firm's future productivity trajectory is then modelled while controlling for the selection bias introduced by endo‐genous firm exit. The findings indicate a significant interaction effect between exporting and R&D investments and future productivity, after controlling for size, age and current productivity. Firms that undertake both investment activities have significantly higher future productivity than firms that do one or neither. In addition, these firms are more likely to continue investing in these activities leading to further productivity gains. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that export experience is an important source of productivity growth for Taiwanese firms and that firm investments in R&D and worker training facilitate their ability to benefit from their exposure to the export market.

Date: 2007
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https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9701.2007.00873.x

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