Exporting from Manufacturing Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Neil Rankin

Neil Rankin

University of the Witwatersrand

Måns Söderbom

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Francis Teal

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

The poor performance of many African economies has been associated with low growth of exports in general and of manufacturing exports in particular. In this paper, we draw on micro-evidence of manufacturing firms in five African countries, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria, to investigate the causes of poor exporting performance. We exploit a data set which has a much longer panel dimension than that has been used before to assess the relative importance of self-selection based on efficiency and firm size as determinants of export participation. We show that firm size is a robust determinant of the decision to export. It is not a proxy for efficiency, for capital intensity, for sector or for time-invariant unobservables. In contrast, the evidence for self-selection into exporting is very weak. Finally, our use of a longer run panel than that has been available before has allowed us to separate out the roles of ownership and skills as possible determinants of participation in exporting. We find that both foreign ownership and skills are significant determinants of exporting.

Suggested Citation

Rankin, Neil and Soderbom, Mans and Teal, Francis, Exporting from Manufacturing Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa (December 2006). Journal of African Economies, Vol. 15, Issue 4, pp. 671-687, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1098680 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jae/ejk014

Neil Rankin

University of the Witwatersrand ( email )

African Micro-Economic Research Umbrella
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2050
South Africa

HOME PAGE: http://web.wits.ac.za/Academic/CLM/sebs/ameru

Mans Soderbom

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom
+44-(0)1865 271084 (Phone)
+44-(0)1865 281447 (Fax)

Francis Teal

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

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