Determinants of Exports: Firm Heterogeneity and Local Context
52 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2017
Date Written: September 22, 2016
It is frequently argued that the geographical context in which firms operate can have a crucial impact on their propensity to internationalize. In this paper, we present the results of an empirical analysis that examines the determinants of export performance for a sample including more than 4,300 Italian manufacturing firms over the period 2000-2013, focusing on the role of provincial context, after controlling for firm-level characteristics. To this end, we first adopt a cluster analysis methodology to classify each Italian province in terms of context variables, such as: the distance to foreign markets, the level of human and social capital and the degree of efficiency of the public administration. Second, we estimate a set of binomial choice and linear models to assess the impact of the economic and social environment on the extensive and intensive margins of trade. The results, after confirming that firm-specific factors (size, experience, productivity, capital intensity, innovation, geographical agglomeration and, to some extent, credit constraints) affect both the intensive and the extensive margins of exports, show that context characteristics at the province level have an additional (statistically and economically) significant impact on the export performances of firms.
Keywords: firm internationalization, local context, firm heterogeneity
JEL Classification: D22, F10, F14, F18
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