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Export Promotion: Bundled Services Work Better


  • We would like to thank PROEXPORT for kindly providing us with export and trade promotion assistance data for Colombian firms. We also wish to thank the editor, an anonymous referee, Carlo Altomonte, Juan Blyde, Irene Brambilla, Juan Carlos Hallak, Keith Head, Mauricio Mesquita Moreira, Rodrigo Parot, Martín Rossi, Mariano Tommasi, and participants at the 10th Annual Conference of the European Trade Study Group (Warsaw) and in a seminar at Universidad San Andrés for valuables comments and suggestions. In addition, we owe gratitude to Pilar Lozano and María Cecilia Obando (PROEXPORT), who carefully explained us how PROEXPORT works with Colombian firms, and to Mariana Sobral de Elia for competent editing assistance. The views and interpretation in this document are strictly those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Inter-American Development Bank, its executive directors, its member countries or PROEXPORT. Other usual disclaimers also apply.


Export promotion agencies provide exporters with a broad range of services, going from counselling to sponsoring their participation in international trade missions and fairs. These services may have heterogeneous effects and thus contribute differently to achieve the goals of these organisations. Empirical evidence on their relative effectiveness is rather limited. This paper aims at filling this gap in the literature. We compare the impact of different public trade promotion programmes on the extensive and intensive margin of firms’ exports, both to each other and with respect to no participation in these activities, by applying multiple treatment matching difference-in-differences on highly disaggregated export data for the whole population of Colombian exporters over the period 2003–06. We find that use of programmes that combine different services is associated with better export performance than their basic individual components, primarily along the country-extensive margin.