Firm Exports, Foreign Ownership, and the Global Financial Crisis

50 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2021

See all articles by Peter Eppinger

Peter Eppinger

University of Tuebingen

Marcel Smolka

University of Flensburg

Date Written: 2020


The exceptional export performance of foreign-owned firms is a well-established stylized fact, but the underlying mechanism is not yet fully understood. In this paper, we provide theory and empirical evidence demonstrating that this fact can be explained by ownership differences in access to finance. We develop a theoretical model of international trade featuring firm heterogeneity and credit market frictions in which foreign-owned firms can access foreign capital markets via their multinational parents. The model predicts a financial advantage of foreign ownership for exporting that gains importance as credit conditions deteriorate. To empirically identify this effect, we estimate a triple differences model using rich micro data from Spain that exploits the global financial crisis as an exogenous shock to credit supply. We find that foreign ownership significantly stabilized firm exports when liquidity dried out in the crisis, in particular among small and financially vulnerable firms.

JEL Classification: F100, F140, F230, G010, G320

Suggested Citation

Eppinger, Peter and Smolka, Marcel, Firm Exports, Foreign Ownership, and the Global Financial Crisis (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8808, Available at SSRN: or

Peter Eppinger (Contact Author)

University of Tuebingen ( email )

Marcel Smolka

University of Flensburg ( email )

Auf dem Campus 1
Flensburg, 24943

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