NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Exporting and Firm Performance: Evidence from a Randomized Trial

David Atkin, Amit K. Khandelwal, Adam Osman

NBER Working Paper No. 20690
Issued in November 2014, Revised in July 2016
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, International Trade and Investment

We conduct a randomized experiment that generates exogenous variation in the access to foreign markets for rug producers in Egypt. Combined with detailed survey data, we causally identify the impact of exporting on firm performance. Treatment firms report 16-26 percent higher profits and exhibit large improvements in quality alongside reductions in output per hour relative to control firms. These findings do not simply reflect firms being offered higher margins to manufacture high-quality products that take longer to produce. Instead, we find evidence of learning-by-exporting whereby exporting improves technical efficiency. First, treatment firms have higher productivity and quality after controlling for rug specifications. Second, when asked to produce an identical domestic rug using the same inputs and same capital equipment, treatment firms produce higher quality rugs despite no difference in production time. Third, treatment firms exhibit learning curves over time. Finally, we document knowledge transfers with quality increasing most along the specific dimensions that the knowledge pertained to.

download in pdf format
   (1876 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20690

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Atkin, Chaudhry, Chaudry, Khandelwal, and Verhoogen w21417 Organizational Barriers to Technology Adoption: Evidence from Soccer-Ball Producers in Pakistan
Alfaro, Chari, and Kanczuk w20726 The Real Effects of Capital Controls: Firm-Level Evidence from a Policy Experiment
Donaldson w16487 Railroads of the Raj: Estimating the Impact of Transportation Infrastructure
Park, Yang, Shi, and Jiang w14632 Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis
Bloom, Eifert, Mahajan, McKenzie, and Roberts w16658 Does Management Matter? Evidence from India
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us