Exporters and Importers of Services: Firm‐Level Evidence on Italy
19 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 2017
This work contributes to the growing literature on international trade in services at firm level. Our data set provides information on exports and imports of services (excluding transportation and travel) in 2008–09 for almost 3,000 Italian industrial and services firms, divided by partner country and type of service. We report a set of stylised facts on services trade and analyse the choice between export and foreign direct investment in services at the firm level. We find that the export and import of services are highly concentrated in just a few firms. Firm‐level variation in trade is positively correlated with firm size and productivity. Country‐level variation is to a large extent explained by the standard gravity variables: distance strongly reduces trade in services in spite of their intangibility. Smaller and less productive firms choose to export rather than sell through foreign affiliates, although there is some heterogeneity among service types.
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