The resource-based view of the firm (RBV) hypothesizes that the exploitation of valuable, rare resources and capabilities contributes to a firm's competitive advantage, which in turn contributes to its performance. Despite this notion, few empirical studies test these hypotheses at the conceptual level. In response to this gap, this study empirically examines the relationships between value, rareness, competitive advantage, and performance. The results suggest that value and rareness are related to competitive advantage, that competitive advantage is related to performance, and that competitive advantage mediates the rareness-performance relationship. These findings have important academic and practitioner implications which are then discussed. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.